Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Windhover by Gerard Manly Hopkins

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.

This one needs to be read a few times. A handy dictionary near-by would not be a bad idea, either.  Simply, it's about resurrection, with "my chevalier", or knight, referring to the narrator's sense of Jesus' role in one's life.  As with a charred log in a dying fire, the crucifixion grants the appearance of death and finality, but live, burning embers of life will be revealed in all of their gold-vermillion splendor when they break free of that which is blue and bleak.