Seamus Heaney - The Poplar - Poetry Analysis

The Poplar

The Poplar This short piece goes to the heart of matters of alignment in The Spirit Level: as a close observer of the strength of nature Heaney is quick to perceive changes that find an echo in human affairs, themselves reshaped by powerful forces. A gust of wind exposes the much lighter shaded underside of the poplar tree’s leaves, suddenly changing the landscape: Wind shakes the big poplar, quicksilvering / The whole tree in a single sweep. The poet’s sensitivity as regards shifting ground and equilibrium, his natural caution about hopeful contemporary political developments lead to questions: when things are finely balanced which way will they tip: What bright scale fell and left this needle quivering? How much negative weight (loaded) is required to blight positive initiatives and bring them to grief? Ulster’s future is in the balance. poplar: tall, fast-growing tree of north temperate regions; quicksilvering: causing the tree […read more….]