Sunday, 25 March 2012

The future is concrete and glass

The Government plans a 'new city' for the West Midlands to cope with the demands of 'a rapidly rising population.'  Planning laws are to be relaxed. [here
'A senior Downing Street source' is quoted as saying:
“these reforms were never intended to allow the concreting over of the countryside. This is about reforming Britain’s planning system, which costs our economy £3 billion a year. There will be protection for the green belt and areas of outstanding natural beauty, along with a clear commitment to sustainable development.”
We shall see.
In all kinds of ways, it would seem that modern urban values are now unassailably triumphant.

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 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.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

A setting of  the poetry of Matthew Arnold for orchestra, choir and narrator, this is Vaughan Williams' evocation of a now vanished world, one which would have been very familiar to Hopkins himself.

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