Synopsis of Binsey Poplars

Aspens at sunset, photo by John Fowler, available through Creative CommonsIn March 1879, whilst stationed in Oxford for parish duties, Hopkins wrote to his ex-schoolteacher E. W. Dixon, ‘I have been up to Godstow this afternoon. I am sorry to say the aspens that line the river are every one felled.' Godstow is a few miles to the north of Oxford along the river, whilst Binsey is between the two places. Aspens are the sort of poplars whose leaves turn and seem to shift colour as the colour differs on upper and lower surfaces of leaves. This poem was a result of the sad sight. More on the destruction of nature?

More on the destruction of nature: Many people are deeply saddened at the destruction of nature, especially when a particular place held dear has been torn down for a road, or houses, or for no obvious reason at all. Artists are particularly sensitive to this. Almost a hundred years before, another English poet who loved the English countryside, William Cowper, wrote a poem, ‘The Poplar Fields', grieving similarly. Poplars are striking trees, as anyone who has seen some of the French Impressionists' depiction of them will testify.
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