Friday, January 13, 2006

The Windhover

The first lines of this have been buzzing around in my head for a few days, so I had to look up the rest. It's an amazing poem, absolutely breath-taking.

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,
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: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins


Dave Routledge said...

Ah! Bekki.

You take me back some twenty years to when I first read this. I wasn't a Christian then, but I could feel the poet's sense of reverence nonetheless. It is a poem that produces tears. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

I wonder if you are familiar with this other Hopkins poem?

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced-fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

God bless

Pig wot flies said...

No, I've not read that before. It's beautiful. Thanks Dave.

Mary deB said...

Well, I can't compete with poetry, but I have tagged you for a meme -- I'm grabbing all the Cambridge knitters I can! Ignore it if you like!