Binsey Poplars

G.M. Hopkins, text. Hopkins composed Binsey Poplars in 1879 to commemorate the felling of a grove of trees near Oxford. This poem bemoans the destruction of some trees in 19th-century England: “O, if we knew what we do….” This disrespect for nature continues, sadly, in the 21st century. Near the middle of the poem, he defines the paradox of the serious threat that humans pose to nature’s frailty. The musical setting attempts to express the poignancy of Hopkins’ theme in this poem: “nature is so tender to touch.”