Poetry: The Windhover

I saw this poem on a Jubilee line train* the other morning, and liked it so much I thought I’d post it. You can find the original on Bartleby, as I did, from a 1918 collection of Hopkins’ poems.

Common Kestrel (image from Wikipedia)

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 (1844-89)

*Transport for London publish poetry on the Underground in the small posters which you can find in train carriages. They’re of a variable quality, and you can’t always find them on every train, but are always a delightful change from adverts about shampoos and dating agencies.

This entry was posted in Not A Review, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Poetry: The Windhover

  1. celawerd says:

    Thanks for sharing.

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