The Poplar

Multum in parvo! This short piece goes to the heart of matters of alignment and balance. Heaney, a close observer of nature, is quick to perceive the previously unseen and consider whether it signals dramatic shifts in human affairs, themselves shaped by powerful forces. Heaney addressed the issue with Henri Cole in Harvard’s Paris Review: “The needle is always swinging between two extremes with me. One is the gravitas of subject matter, a kind of surly nose-to-the-groundness, almost a non-poetry, and the other is the lift and frolic of the words in themselves”. Heaney reflects on something he has not noticed before: a sudden rush of wind (shakes the big poplar) exposes as if by alchemy (quicksilvering) the lighter-shaded underside […]