Tuesday, December 27, 2005

On the third day of Christmas . . .

Christmas Day I thought about sharing this poem, and the second day of Christmas convinced me I had to. We were driving from Searcy to Memphis, and rather than seeing two turtle doves, I counted 23 hawks along the way!

It led me to wonder if they have been there all along, and I simply never saw them? Or are they increasing in number? Either way, they amaze me.

The following poem was written by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, from whom I took the name for my blog. I once chose this poem for a paper back in my English major days, only to learn that critics considered it the most complex poem ever written in the English language.

It is complex, but I hope you can enjoy something of the language and the images. I'm putting a link to a site that gives a simple beginning of an explanation of it, if you want to look it up.

The main point of it is that Christ in his divinity is beautiful like a windhover (a type of hawk) in flight, but even more beautiful in the way he descended to earth and became human, like a hawk swooping down, and in the way he continues to share his body and blood (gold and vermillion) with us.

(The blog won't let me indent lines. My apologies to Hopkins. I'm putting an asterisk before lines that should be indented.)

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: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
* Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Merry Christmas!

Here's the link:


thebeloved said...

This is by far one of my favorite poems. Hopkins is a genious with words and passion. Thanks for the reminder.

Sheila said...

Hi, "thebeloved"--

How did you happen across my blog?

I looked at your profile. We have some things in common, it seems!