04 May 2008


I was at my sailing club today, not sailing, unfortunately, as it was my turn to be in charge of the racing. The club (called Medley Sailing Club) is not far from Binsey, where the poplars that Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about in his famous poem. This is a quick sketch that I was able to do between races of a poplar on the banks of the Thames, just coming in to leaf. This is just pen and ink; I might add some colour tomorrow...the green of trees at this time of year is so lovely.

If anyone happens to be in the area, the sailing club is having an open day on 10th May. Come and have a sail!

Here is the poem.

Binsey Poplars, felled 1879

My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.

O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew—
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch, her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene, a rural scene,
Sweet especial rural scene.


E-J said...

Dave, your drawing is SO lovely. Such delicate marks! Thank you for the Hopkins poem. I studied him at O-Level and am a great fan, but wasn't familiar with this one!

Dave said...

Thanks E-J! It is a lovely poem. I believe he was even more miffed when he found the poplars had been felled to make brakes for railway trains. But there are plenty of poplars along the Thames again now, I'm glad to say!

Anita Davies said...

Dave well done for managing to sneak a sketch into your day...such a lovely sketch too.

SCquiltaddict said...

lovely sketch and poem...you are right about the lovely greens of the trees in spring...just luscious!! Thanks goodness poplars grow so quickly!