“Binsey Poplars” is my favorite lyrical poem. I discovered Hopkins in a Victorian literature class in college—40 years ago. He has stayed with me since. As a poet, I find what he can do with sound practically miraculous. What a great ear! And repetition! The last two lines, so sad, so right, bring the poem together. The poem touches me in part because I love trees—and I find the same peace among them that the speaker found. Until, of course, they were felled, his “aspens dear.” Clear cutting is a popular money-mad activity now, the tree roots more shallow than the bank roots. I saw a favorite area by a lake we love—one year tree dense and lovely, the next year stumpy and it looked bombed out. “All felled, felled, are all felled;….” Hopkins came to mind right away.
Kenneth Pobo has a book forthcoming from Blue Light Press called Bend Of Quiet. His recent work has been in: Weber: The Contemporary West, Floating Bridge, The Queer South (anthology), and elsewhere.