Posted by: chuckbumgardner | June 15, 2008

Gerald Manley Hopkins, “The Windhover”

I’ve enjoyed the wordsmithery of Gerald Manley Hopkins ever since I was exposed to this poem in high school.  Hopkins considered “The Windhover” to be “the best thing I ever wrote.”  Some Norton notes on the poem may be found here.

 

The Windhover
 
 
To Christ our Lord
 

 
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,         5
  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         10
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.
 
 
 
 
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