The Windhover is a sonnet whose octave describes the flight of a kestrel windhover that he saw that morning. This may be considered a false dichotomy by many; yet the reading of the bible, the verse of the gospels, the language of the scripture and the performance of the sermon might all seem of one with the actions of a poet. The flight of the bird is 'represented in the rhythms and movements of the sound of the spoken poetry', so wrote Hopkins, a keen technical poet and creator of the unique sprung rhythm, which uses alliteration and varied stress beats to create unusually textured lines. It as Mlinko wrote did slow me down when I was reading the poem. The last stanza associatively brings together unrelated words, each telling something about Christ and his suffering and sacrifice for human beings.
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. The poet is also reinforcing the idea of wonder, for here is a predatory bird manipulating the wind in a light that seems to set it on fire. More significant however is the transformation of the bird into a spiritual symbol of Christ. Hopkins felt poetry should not be attributed to personal goals, and in his capacity of a priest dedicated to God, he felt it was his duty to rebut individual desires. It is this ambiguous use of often archaic terms that makes Hopkins somewhat bothersome in interpretation, if not in overall effect. Maybe it should have been like charged electrons, but you get the idea.
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here Buckle! Well, perhaps it is not quite so hopeless as it seems at first glance, but one must admit that Hopkins did not write for the masses. The epigraph shows the speaker as already being god-conscious. That is one reason why his use of grammar is often rather odd, though rhythm also plays a part in that. You only see this bird in Europe the American kestrel is different and does not hover as the British one does. 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! Line 11 : chevalier - french for knight, champion Line 12 : sillion - ridge between two furrows Line 14 : gall - break the surface of. Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here Buckle! I liked the way the words were put together, almost as though the author wrote it to be lyrical. It is a hymn that is romantic in form but religious in theme.
The stoop of the bird is a sort of incarnation and parallels his own stoop into the priesthood. He describes a bird which he saw flying in the sky that morning. The skill of the bird thus seems to rebuff the wind, that is, to win a triumph over the wind. In short, the poem can be discussed as a sonnet because it has some of the features of the typical sonnet, but it must be called a modified sonnet adapted to a different kind of subject, word-game and music. Sprung rhythm is a poetic device used to reveal the energy of God that pulses through the world. He seems to have been very inward-turned in his notion of an audience for his verse, very ingrown. To this devotee of Christ, everything brings the image of Christ and his wounds and pain and sacrifice.
David I read your explication with appreciation and gratitude. What is the point of sprung rhythm? The kestrel Windhover has to be observed to understand the poem. We may speculate on what Hopkins might have produced had he not become a Roman Catholic and a Jesuit, if he had not burned his poems when he changed his life, if he had not been subjected to years of depressing, unchallenging work that no doubt added to the weight and physical effects of his depression, but that is pointless. So what does the poem really mean? On hearing a poet describe a long remembered poem, the only thing he could recall from college days, I identified with that. I think you did a spectacular job at summarizing this poem! Though that poem was commissioned, it was ultimately rejected by a Jesuit magazine, and thereafter Hopkins vacillated between joy and despair both in his poetry and about his poetry—but at least he continued to write it. The description of the first stanza and the comparison of the second stanza are all forgotten when the poet deeply meditates and exalts in the sacrifice and greatness of Christ in the last three-line stanza.
He was one of those remarkably sensitive souls who fall into astounding depths of depression, and his dull, uncreative life as a Jesuit did not help matters. Hopkins himself thought it was the best thing he ever wrote. So, if the wing is like a wimple, then this adds a nice little radical touch to the poem. This aspect of the plough and the soil is the more obviously dramatic one-immortal beauty won from the harshest dullest toil, suffering, and discipline. Not knowing right away what the subject is, and what the syntax is doing, also slows us down. At moments when humans arrive at the fullness of their moral nature, they achieve something great.
Mariani, A Commentary on the Complete Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. A relatively small number of themes and images permits him an extremely varied range of treatment. I have also memorized several poems, foolishly hoping to stave off inevitable losses. The falcon is drawn from his resting place or abode by the dapple-coloured dawn. His attention was suddenly drawn by the scene of a bird flying in the sky.
Miss this and you whiffed the whole exercise. Here's our manifesto on the matter. So the change in this second part of the sonnet is a definite break from what has gone before. We should first get the feel of the poem by reading it more than once silently and then aloud. 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. The decision to become a Jesuit would have created an irreparable rift. The red ember-like the light of the morning sun on the horizon of the blue-bleak sky and he is lost in contemplation.