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November 17, 2004

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.

-- The Windhover, Gerard Manley Hopkins



At November 17, 2004 at 2:05 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I had such command of the language as to pen such as this. Makes one actually visualise the bird in its flight as one reads... the words disappear and the imagery arises.

Powerful, that.

At November 17, 2004 at 2:06 p.m. , Blogger Ross Thomas said...

Yes. And how good is that last stanza?

"Blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion."

Wish I could write like that.


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