The Windhover

 

I caught this morning morning’s minion, kingdom of daylight’s dauphin,
dapple-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 valor 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; sheer plod makes plow down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

 

by Gerard Manley Hopkins (6/11/1844 – 6/8/1889)
Written in 1877(?); published in 1918.

Birds in Flight

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