The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins

One of the few poems I find myself really inclined towards, I just love the way this reads in my head.  It’s just fun.

I envision the Windhover to be a seagull for some reason.

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-vermilion.

I think one of the reasons I’m so inclined towards this poem is because I hear a song when I read it.  It has a pattern, a flow, which I can sing along to.  Yes, it’s a story, but it’s one that told in a very different way. Like a pendulum swinging to and fro, so my mind jumps from word to word, knowing just what points to hit.  It ebbs and flows like a wave as I read it. And that’s just the initial reason that I grew fond of this particular piece.

I also adore the imagery; the description of flight resonates with me. The escape, the freedom – it’s something I’ve often pondered.  It’s also a romantic sort of poem. No, not Romantic, but the loving/longing type.  The recipient of the poem must be quite special to be described in such a way.  I’m not quite as eloquent as describing the sensation as Mr. Hopkins, but it seems spot on.  Rare is the occasion that I allow myself to express feelings towards other people, so when I do it’s pretty major for me. Just the thought of someone close to me knowing how I feel- exposing myself so openly- unravels me a bit.

Anyway, back to the poem…   I haven’t quite worked my way around the language and it’s meaning- mostly due to forgetfulness and a lack of time. Although, it does seem like it is expressing love or admiration for something or someone.  I do want to know this poem pretty well, so I shall attempt to give it another go sometime.


This post just got 500x more majestic.


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