3/27/2020 0 Comments
The simple beauty of nature is an aspect many of us take for granted in our everyday lives â€“ the endearing sounds of birds welcoming another day and the powerful gush of a waterfall being some examples of these. But there are those individuals who have endeavoured to fully comprehend the marvellous complexity of the world around us. Such findings are present in the work of many poets â€“ namely Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 â€“ 1889) and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1808 â€“ 1882). Hopkins and Longfellow were two contemporary poets from the nineteenth century from different cultures, English and American respectively who relished in the gift of nature with all her attributes. Both of their work is characterised by a deep and personal sense of appreciation of the beauty of the natural world â€“ work that when studied makes us truly delight in the wonder that is nature. The two poems that I feel effectively communicate Hopkins' and Longfellows' ideas are respectively â€œPied Beautyâ€ and â€œSnowflakesâ€. Although they are similar in their content concerning their love for the natural world, the poems do differ in the way in which each poet relates his ideas. Hopkins' poem â€œPied Beautyâ€ is one of the most famous, characteristic and linguistically accessible pieces combining the elements of nature and religion. In it the poet praises the creator for the infinite range and scope within creation. His appreciation of the natural world ranges in scale from a rainbow trout to an entire landscape. Even from its title alone we know that this curtal sonnet is effectively a song of praise for all things â€˜pied' that is bi-coloured, streaked or patched. The poem â€œSnowflakesâ€ by Longfellow is also an expression of the poet's attitude to and appreciation of the natural world. In it Longfellow describes in minute detail the subtle beauty of a single snowflake and makes us more aware not only of snow, but of the other small things surrounding us, making us realise their importance. Both poems acknowledge existence and power of a creator. In â€œPied Beautyâ€ a song of praise is presented in the first line of the poem's triumphant, alliterative opening stanza, as â€œGlory be to Godâ€¦â€ immediately places Hopkins' appreciation of the beauty of the natural world in a religious context. Also as the poem concludes with the exhortation â€œPraise himâ€ it is clear that the piece is deliberately framed as a Christian hymn of thanksgiving for the infinite variety in nature. The opening line also introduces the poem's theme: â€œdappled thingsâ€ and this is the first of many adjectives describing parti-coloured natural elements. â€œSnowflakesâ€ on the other hand opens with an altogether more maternal aspect of nature although the acknowledgement of a powerful creator is still present: â€œOut of the bosom of the Air Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shakenâ€ This personification of the female form creates a â€˜Mother Earth' type figure that I feel Longfellow used to successfully communicate his love and understanding of all things natural to a wide audience as a mother figure is something most of us could relate to. In this particular instance it is this â€˜Mother Earth' entity that produces and generates the countless millions of snowflakes. We can directly contrast this to Hopkins' â€œPied Beautyâ€ where a masculine creator is presumed and praised â€œPraise him.â€ Both poems perceive and praise a religious dimension to the beauty of the supernatural world. The religious theme in â€œPied Beautyâ€ is continued as appropriately the poet's eyes seem to gaze up at heaven as he appreciates the beauty of â€œskies of couple â€“ colourâ€ implying that the sky's beauty was the work of God. This image also lends a sweeping panoramic aspect to his poetic attention as I imagine the vast immeasurable skies above. Then foreshadowing a technique used later in the poem, Hopkins immediately narrows his broader focus down to refer to the streaked markings on one â€œbrinded cowâ€. In â€œSnowflakesâ€ this religious theme is expressed in describing the shape of the snowflake as â€œsome divine expressionâ€ indicating a superior eternal contribution to the formation of the snowflakes. As we know the two poems are about beauty that is all around us, but I noticed that both poems focus on tiny and large natural entities. In â€œPied Beautyâ€ Hopkins comments on â€œrose-molesâ€ on trout and â€œfinches-wingsâ€. It seems that no aspect or detail of nature is too tiny or insignificant to escape the poets' attention. But on the contrary he also refers to â€œskiesâ€ and â€œlandscapeâ€ showing the range in which nature is present. In â€œSnowflakesâ€ Longfellow is concentrating more on the actual snowflake rather than an overview of all things â€˜beautiful'. Yet in contrast he also comments on the â€œwoodlandâ€ and â€œharvest fieldsâ€ in which the seemingly harmless snowflake had somehow devoured. Both poems also use alliteration to achieve their impact in places. In â€œSnowflakesâ€ he describes the woodland as being â€œbrown and bareâ€ and the movement of the snow as â€œSilent, and soft, and slowâ€. This repeated initial consonant sound is used to set the scene that the poet is trying to convey. This is also present in â€œPied Beautyâ€ when the sky is described as being of â€œcouple-colourâ€ to convey the varying shades and tones present in the sky above. Also by describing the chestnuts as â€œFresh-firecoalâ€ the poet is helping us to envisage fully the sight of the dual coloured chestnuts falling from a tree. In â€œPied Beautyâ€ Hopkins uses a wide range of vocabulary to describe the many parti-coloured aspects of nature, â€ dappled, couple-colour, and freckledâ€ being examples of these. But it is the use of the word â€œfickleâ€ that I found rather striking, as one would normally use the word to refer to a person with mood swings almost like personality changes. But here it is used to emphasise the speed and acceptance of change in the landscape and environment. I also noticed that the opening of â€œSnowflakesâ€ featured many examples of â€˜O' assonance: â€œOutâ€¦bosomâ€¦cloud-foldsâ€¦Overâ€¦woodlands brownâ€¦softâ€¦slow and snow.â€ It is almost as if the poet is purposely repeatedly using words that contain the letter â€˜O' (physically circular in shape) to bombard the page, reminding us of a multitude of snowflakes as they completely cover the ground. The poet continues to acknowledge the over â€“ powering nature that the snow possesses in â€ Over the woodlands brown and bare, Over the harvest fields forsakenâ€ The use of the word â€˜forsaken' reiterates Longfellow's notion that the snow can capture anything in its path. As well as imagery the poet also used such poetic devices as onomatopoeia and sibilance to relate the descent of snow to the ground, â€œSilent and soft and slowâ€ which I feel he does and to great affect. Even from the title of Hopkins' poem we know his focus is on the infinite variety of all â€˜dappled things', uniting in the single, uniform reality of God's creating power. â€œSnowflakesâ€ on the other hand focuses on the one phenomenon of snow, something that blankets over and makes uniform the entire and varied landscape. I also noticed that in â€œPied Beautyâ€ the subject of the poem is introduced in the first line â€œGlory be to God for dappled thingsâ€. This plainly states that the poem shall be a song of thanks to God for everything in nature of a â€˜pied' quality. â€œSnowflakesâ€ on the other hand describes a journey made by the subject and where it originated from rather than stating plainly what it is. The actual subject of snow is not explicitly mentioned until the end of the first stanza (although it may be argued that the title of the poem is an obvious indication of the subject matter). From reading the poems it is easy to notice the different attitudes of the narrators of the poems. The tone in â€œPied Beautyâ€ is one of joyous exuberance by use of language such as â€œGlory beâ€ and â€œPraiseâ€. On the contrary â€œSnowflakesâ€ takes a more mellow, introspective almost restless approach in describing its subject â€œtroubled heartâ€ and â€œsecret of despairâ€ are some examples of this. Also in â€œPied |Beautyâ€ the poem is celebratory and is about beauty. â€œSnowflakesâ€ on the other hand is simple and complex and is beauty. After studying both poems in depth I feel that through the work of Longfellow I now would see and appreciate the complexity in the simplicity of snowflakes. But overall I prefer the work of Hopkins. His exploitation of the verbal subtleties and music of English, of the use of alliteration, repetition and a highly compressed syntax were all in the interest of projecting deep personal experiences, including his sense of God's mystery, grandeur and mercy in â€œall things counterâ€. He called the energising prosodic element of his verse â€˜sprung rhythm' in which each foot may consist of one stressed syllable instead of the regular number of syllables used in traditional rhythm. The result is a muscular verse, intense and vibrant that combines accuracy of observation, daring imagination, deep feeling and intellectual depth. All in all a wonderful piece that for me as of yet shall remain one of the most touching I have read.
If someone was to ask you, â€œWhat is an open dump? â€ What would you say? Would you know what to tell them? An open dump is abandoned piles of household garbage, bags of yard waste, appliances, old barrels, used tires, and demolition debris can threaten the health of wildlife, the environment, and humans. They can cause such health, environmental, and safety issues as fires or explosions, the inhalation of toxic gases, injuries to children playing in or around the dumpsites (I have personal experience of cutting my foot on broken glass as a child playing in an open dump), diseases carried by flies, rodents and mosquitos, and other hazards. Open Dumps, 1996 â€“ 2011). Early Landfill Believe it or not, landfills go way back in history. Of course, back then they were called â€œgarbage dumps. â€ For instance, early American settlers used to deal with their garbage by dumping it over the back fence, burying it in their back yards, or dumping it in rivers. They also would burn their garbage. (Amsel, 2005 â€“ 2013). We can go even further back in history with this subject. Case in point: Did you know the cause of the bubonic plague (14th century) was too much garbage in the streets? Allow me to explain. The bubonic plague, also called, the â€œblack death,â€ spread through Africa, Asia, nd Europe, killing 75 million people. What these people did not know at the time was they had too much garbage in their streets. There was so much it was in piles. These piles of garbage in turn attracted rats. The rats had fleas. The fleas carried the disease. With rats carrying the disease from place to place, the lack of sanitation made it the worst epidemic in human history. (Amsel, 2005 â€“ 2013). Many of the early landfills were made in wetlands. These wetlands were thought to be wasteland at that time. These landfills leaked into lakes and rivers and built up gases, such as methane. As garbage rots, it gives off a flammable gas, called methane. Because of this many garbage dumps would catch fire or explode! The first garbage burning plant was built in 1885 in New York on Governorâ€™s Island. It was called an â€œincinerator. â€ There were 300 incinerators burning garbage in the U. S. by 1914. (Amsel, 2005 â€“ 2013). Leachate â€“ The most serious problem with landfills is groundwater contamination. As water percolates through the ground (like water does in a coffeemaker), chemicals can be released in the ground and get carried along in a process called leaching. The resulting water with the various pollutants is called leachate. As the water percolates through Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), a noxious leachate is generated that consists of residues various decomposing organic matter mixed with various metals from rusting items in the landfills. This can funnel directly into the groundwater without correct precautionary measures. (Wright, 2011). Methane â€“ Municipal Solid Waste is about 2/3 organic material. Because of this, it is subject to natural decomposition. Buried wastes are anaerobic, meaning they decompose without oxygen. A major by-product of this process produces a combination of about 2/3 methane and 1/3 hydrogen and carbon dioxide, called biogas. This is a highly flammable mixture. This has caused homes to explode at up to 1000 feet away and has caused some deaths. Also, gases seeping up to the surface have killed vegetation by poisoning their roots. (Wright, 2011). Incomplete Decomposition â€“ Commonly used plastics resist natural decomposition because of their molecular structure. Microbes are unable to digest them because they are polymers of petroleum-based compounds. There have been biodegradable plastic polymers developed from other sources, such as cornstarch, lactic acid, cellulose, and soybean protein, as well as petroleum. Wright, 2011). Settling â€“ Finally, as waste compacts and decomposes, it settles. This problem was recognized from the beginning and there have been no buildings built on landfills. Settling creates shallow depressions that collect and hold water. These can also be deep holes. This can be addressed by continuous monitoring and filling to restore it to a level surface. (Wright, 2011). Modern Landfill Modern landfills are designed to address the previous mentioned issues. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has upgraded requirements for landfill siting. New landfills are to be sited well above the water table on high ground. The floor is contoured so water drains into a tile leachate collection system. The sides and floor are covered with a plastic liner and at least two feet of compacted soil. This allows any percolating leachate to drain into the leachate collection system and be treated as necessary. Layers of refuse are positioned so the fill is built up in the shape of a pyramid. It is then with at least 18 inches of earthen material and then seeded. This cap and the pyramid shape help the landfill in shedding water. The entire landfill site is surrounded by groundwater monitoring wells and periodically checked. This checking must go on indefinitely. (Wright, 2011). Mariannhill Landfill, South Africa I chose the Mariannhill Landfill, South Africa for innovative practices in making it more productive and reducing its environmental impact. In reading the description of this landfill, it seemed more like a recreation area and less like a landfill. I could tell a lot of thought and planning went into this. This landfill contains several â€œcellsâ€ to hold waste. Soil from the landfill area is removed and put in storage. The resulting hole is the cell. Once the cell is full the soil is replaced. Vegetation is also removed and placed in a large holding nursery on the site. This is called Plant Rescue Unit or PRUNIT. There is a barrier system in each cell to prevent harmful waste by-products from seeping into the environment. Leachate is treated on site. This is done by a biological primary treatment with sludge followed by a â€œpolishing treatmentâ€ by a reed bed. The Mariannhill site treats landfill water to reduce leachate until the water is reusable. Mariannhill has also set up a landfill gas extraction scheme. It has been operational for four years as of 2008. It also has a bird hide and conservation area with nature trails that link up with existing green space in the metro. (Mariannhill Landfill Conservancy, 2008). This has been a truly eye-opening assignment. Little did I realize as a child that some of the areas I was playing in were so dangerous. Iâ€™m not sure if my parents knew, but they always told me to stay away from places like that. I am so thankful these places (older landfills and â€œdumpsâ€) are practically figments of the imagination now. We need to take better care of our planet! Letâ€™s all chip in!