The Geometry of Grief:

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The Geometry of Grief:
Analysis of Poems by Denis Johnson and Gerard Manley Hopkins
Among the most potent subject matter for any writer is grief.In secret, in the dark, we have all felt a pain too powerful to convey.It is for this reason that describing a poem as mournful is generally a compliment.Why do we rave about books and films that make us cry?We love these works because they give us a glimpse into another soul, one with some of the same problems and vulnerabilities as we have.We cry with artists because they are like us: imperfect.We cry and wipe away tears and go on to smile again.The reconciliation that comes after a time of mourning is rejuvenating.There is sometimes a feeling of such cleansing after crying as to make one wonder if happiness is all it is cracked up to be.To touch upon the subjects of grief and its reconciliation or lack thereof are among the poet's chief concerns.Denis Johnson's poem, "Sway," and Gerard Manley Hopkins' "No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief" are examples of how poets of different eras deal with the sorrow inherent in human life.
Denis Johnson's title, "Sway," is an interesting metaphor that attempts to sum up his feelings concerning grief and happiness, or "harmony and divergence" (Johnson 10).The term itself is at once comforting and unsettling, achieving a duality of feeling in line with the subject matter.To sway is to be accepting, to move with the winds of change like a stalk of barley.When something sways, it does not bend too far and break off but bends one way then another, always turning to a new direction as its guiding force changes.This movement is reinforced by the use of the repeated phrase, "harmony and divergence," which gives a sense of swaying in its sound.There is, in the idea of swaying a comfort.Johnson does not view grief as a crushing thing, somethi…