I have been thinking of one of my favorite poems lately, The Windhover, by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Hopkins was a Jesuit priest living in Ireland who wrote amazing poems with unique rhythms. But I don’t think he shared them with much of anybody when he was alive. At least his poems were not published until after he died at the age of 44 in 1918.
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: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
Thanks to Bartleby.com for the text above.
This beautiful picture of a flying kestrel, or windhover, is courtesy of the folks at Stanford University: