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The Windhover- Poem- G.M.Hopkins


‘The windhover’ is a sonnet written in 1887, dedicated to ‘Christ Our Lord’ by G. M. Hopkins.

In the poem, the poet admires the grace of the bird ‘Windhover’. He is overwhelmed by the beauty of the bird and how God had created such a fascinating creature.


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-vermilionvermilion a vibrant scarlet color.


The poet saw an almighty falcon flying over the sky that morning. He was hovering over the wind up high. His presence filled with joy, he rode the wind like how a horse rider rides a horse.

After which he glided smoothly in an arc, much like the skaters in the ice blades. His way of flying conquered the sky even in the strong wind. The poet, awestruck by his might, admires his absolute control over the wind.

He showed willpower, mastery, grace, dignity and rode the wind in a flawless motion. But the Almighty, Jesus Christ burn more bright, elegant, and powerful.

The author ends with a note saying, the windhover is nothing special. Even ploughing a field makes the soil glitter and shine brightly. Even the hot coal gives us scintillating red and golden crystals.


Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)

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