Binsey Poplars

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Poplars near Binsey, Oxfordshire. Not the actual poplars that Hopkins wrote about in his poem. Port Meadow is just beside Binsey. The Thames divide them. So it seems that these poplars where very very close, but is not the actual ones. After-comers cannot guess the beauty been...

The Jesuit priest/poet Gerard Manley Hopkins is remembered for his exquisite use of language and the depth of his poetic regard. Binsey Poplars was written in 1879 in response to his shocking discovery that a favourite stand of aspen trees which he had long enjoyed during his days at Oxford had fallen to the axe. At another level, the poem is a lament for the destruction of the natural world without thought for the beauties that it holds and without regard for the blighting of the landscape itself and of our minds when we behold such devastation. Hopkins is acutely aware of the irreversibility of such assaults upon the natural world, and laments the loss to future generations of the mystic entrancement evoked by scenes of natural beauty. Though written over 130 years ago, Binsey Poplars is presciently anthemic of the present day Green movement and of environmentalism more generally. The music that accompanies this piece was written and performed (multi-track) by Nico Di Stefano. A CD quality mp3 audio file is available for download here.

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