Mary's Library

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Windhover

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

-- Gerard Manley Hopkins


At 2:39 PM PST , Blogger emasl said...

I studied this poem for my A Level at school many years ago. Not sure I ever totally grasped Gerald Manley Hopkins but just loved the sound of the words as they roll off the tongue. Always remember Buckle! thankyou for reminding me of this

At 2:26 PM PST , Blogger Lisa Guidarini said...

Lovely, just lovely, thanks for this.

We get some decently interesting birds way out here in the suburban boonies, including various cranes, all manner of hawks and even quite a few lovely scarlet-colored cardinals. I know nothing at all about birds but I think they're just gorgeous.

Speaking of, we've put out suet for them this year, so hopefully the winter will find some more interesting varieties of birds near my kitchen window.

At 7:30 PM PST , Blogger Mary said...

I've always liked the word "buckle." It can mean either to strap on one's armor and get ready for a fight, or to capitulate.

I think it means both in this poem.


At 5:59 PM PST , Blogger jenclair said...

I love this poem, but I love Hopkins! Now that it's fall, I think of "Spring and Fall" and Margaret's initiation into mortality.


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