A POEM (To a Young Child) AND A MOVIE (Margaret)

Staying with the poetry theme from the previous post, the below remarks are from a journal entry written just prior to starting a blog, in 2012, at a time when I insisted on referring to the medium as a “web-log.” Then something inside gave way, and I stopped taking it all so damn seriously. Life is real, life is earnest. But we have to laugh sometimes, especially at ourselves.

Márgarét, are you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins

The poem aptly sums up the 2011 Kenneth Lonergan film, and was read in one scene by Matthew Broderick as a HS lit teacher. A complicated, intricate story, involving coming of age; death and life; trauma and healing; art and love; family relationships; Arab vs. Jew; and the nature and implications of terrorism, geopolitical and personal. Stunning. Of course Jake, my brilliant boy, was the person who knew the entire backstory, Hollywood vs. David, or more accurately, Hollywood vs. Lonergan. The result of the years of that particular conflict? This film will never receive its due in the maker’s lifetime, almost certainly, and that is unfortunate.

I was moved finally to tears at the conclusion, just as the protagonist and her mother were, against the spectacular backdrop of high opera, which could wring tears from a stone. Loss and mourning and yet great, great beauty. Ah, life. I also yelped aloud at one point, when a character from Colombia spoke of the meaning of political terrorism, having personally experienced it in his home country, and without hesitation and with great clarity noted there is little difference finally between, just for instance, Israeli bullies and Arab extremists, and so on and on and on. “To decry anti-Zionism is merely a Jewish reaction.” Me: WHOA! Another character, played by the brilliant, brilliant Jeannie Berlin, flings her drink in his face and staring him down, says, “That’s MY Jewish reaction.” Me: WHOA! Unforgettable. The visuals flowed like water with all its shades of meaning. Acting? Sublime across the board.

Hey, maybe I could blog after all.

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2 Responses to A POEM (To a Young Child) AND A MOVIE (Margaret)

  1. David R Byler says:

    yes you can blog!

  2. Stephanie Silber says:

    Thanks, Bond. For whatever reason, this one I had to wrestle cursing to the ground.

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