Unit – 3: Ecology and Environment
Chapter 1: The Poplar Field [W. Cowper]
“The Poplar Field” is about the protection of ecology and the environment. In this poem, William Cowper suggests us to conserve natural beauty for human pleasure. The poem is popular for its celebration of the rural and its nostalgic tone. William Cowper says that the poplars are cut down. So, there is neither shade nor whispering sound. The wind does not play with leaves and the Ouse River does not receive the image of poplar trees.
Poet says that 12 years have passed very quickly. Poet used to sit under the shade of poplars at the bank of the river. But, at present poplars are laid down on the grass and changed into the furniture. The blackbird has flown into the next jungle for shelter. So, there is no more charming song of birds. Poet is worried about his fleeting years. Very short and our enjoyments are shorter than this. Cutting down the trees or destroying nature means destroying our own pleasure.
To sum up, William Cowper advocates for the conservation of forests. We are responsible for the conservation of forests. We are responsible for the destruction of natural beauty. So, it is our responsibility to protect nature. Nature is life for us. Destruction of jungle and overuse of natural resources means destroying our own life and pleasure, …
Short Answer Questions
1. Interpret the poem “Poplar Field” in your own words. Does the poem indirectly instruct us to work for afforestation?
“The Poplar Field” is a profound contemplation over the transition of human life and the things in nature that serve as a remarkable source of pleasure to humans. The poem urges us to protect nature. In the poem, the poet expresses his personal emotion and feeling with a nostalgic tone. The poet used to enjoy among the poplar trees in the past but now as the tree has been cut down the poet doesn’t get any cool shade and melodious song of the wind. The wind no longer plays and sings in the leaves of poplar trees because the tree no longer exists and the poet could no longer see the reflection of poplar trees in the weather of Oise River.
The poem is all about deforestation and the destruction of the poplar fields in the bank of the Ouse River in England. He says that he has missed everything in his twelve years of running life. He recalls that it was his favorite place to stay which gave him shade, but regrets that they are laid. The poem mocks human pleasure thus is satire. The transitory human pleasure for which they cut the trees dies sooner than they die. The bitter fact makes the poet contemplate on the temporary nature of human pleasure.
The poet used to feel tremendous pleasure in the company of the poplar tres but now when the trees have been destroyed his pleasure too has perished and his pleasure cannot be restored in his lifetime because it takes a long time for the new poplar trees to grow in the place of the old ones. So the poet concludes that human enjoyment has shorter death than their short lives and means that human pleasure dies sooner than a human being themselves.
2. How is the poem “The Poplar Field” about the defense of nature conservation? Explain.
William Cowper defenses nature conservation in the poem “The Poplar Field”. By giving a vivid picture of the destroyed poplar field and comparing it with the poplar field which the speaker had seen twelve years ago, the narrator expresses his tone of defense. Showing destruction is another way of defending nature’s destruction.
“The Poplar Field” is about the protection of ecology and the environment. In this poem, William Cowper suggests us to conserve natural beauty for human pleasure. William Cowper says that the poplar is cut down. So, there is neither shade now whispering sound. The wind does not play with leaves and the Ouse River does not receive the image of poplar trees. Poet says that 12 years have passed very quickly. Poet used to sit under the shade of poplar at the bank of the river. But, at present poplar are laid down on the grass and changed into the furniture.
The blackbird has flown into the next jungle for shelter. so, there is no more charming song of a bird. Poet is worried about his fleeting years. Very soon, he will lie inside the grave before growing the next poplar field. Finally, the poet realizes that human life is very short and our enjoyment is shorter than this. Cutting down the trees or destroying nature means destroying our own pleasure. In this way, connection to the destruction of the poplar with the destruction of human pleasure, the poetic persona pleads for nature conservation and defenses the destruction of nature.
Long Answer Questions
1. Discuss how the poet W. Cowper links up the idea of the cut-down poplars with the end of human life and pleasures.
In the poem “The Poplar Field” William Cowper compares the chopping down of the poplar trees with the end of human pleasure. When the speaker came back in the poplar field after twelve years, he saw many changes in the poplar field. The trees were cut down. They were lying down on the ground there was no reflection of trees in the Ouse River. The blackbirds had left the poplar field. The poet couldn’t hear a bird’s song. The wind wasn’t blowing in the leaves of trees as in the past. He sat on cut down trees. The poplar field has changed to a desert. The sight of the fallen poplars makes the poet feel sad.
He realizes that he will die soon in the future and lie in the grave like the fallen poplars lying on the grass. The poet also says that our pleasures are shorter than our life. These are the result of deforested poplar trees. After he sees this destruction he becomes nostalgic and sentimental, thus mentions that the time is passing fast and that he will die sooner than another such field emerges. Indirectly he wants to say that the trees give us everything from shelter to the resources which are for our pleasure. But human beings are such foolish that they do not think of the preservation. When they cut down the poplar they cut down their pleasure.
This poem is a satire to the present human civilization that has become unaware of the protection of natural resources. Humans being cut down the trees for their self and pleasure. But the poet mocks at this. He believes that once the trees are cut down the human pleasure automatically ends. He also makes sit clear that human life is short and shorter is the life of pleasure. Our pleasure dies sooner than we die. If this is the fact he questions is t good to run for the momentary pleasure which in return makes a full stop to the upcoming pleasure fo our life. Thus the poet connects the idea of cutting down the poplar with end the human life in general and their pleasure in particular. By doing so he urges us towards the preservation and protection of the forest in particular and nature in general.