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”The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 682
  • Category: Poems

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The Windhover, by Gerard Manley Hopkins is a poem about the essence of natural things. This poem describes the relationship of human beings to the natural world as the poet is addressing God through the bird. It is praising him for all the marvellous things He has created and that humans can enjoy.

The poem consists in three verses. In the first verse, the poet describes the power of the bird as it is portrayed as the master of heavens. This verse captures the movement of the bird in the sky. It starts with “I caught this morning mornings minion” that gives the feeling that the bird is a servant of the sky and it is the morning because it is a good time for hunting. Hopkins puts words together like “dapple dawn-drawn” to portray multi-images as here where the bird is drawn in the sky. Also, the alliteration here produces the effect of the bird’s movement in the air and the intensity of the poem’s feeling.

The author writes that the bird is “striding high there” and this produces the image that the bird is taking huge steps in the air. The bird also “rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing” showing his power and control with “ecstasy”. The bird has control over the wind. The rhythm in this verse is very slow, yet steady. This verse consists in very long sentences that convey the effect that the bird is circling the air; with long movements it also reflects the poets feelings. This verse gives as the feeling that he poet has searched very well the words to describe his feelings but at the same time describing the bird. He searches for words that sound as they are written for example “sweeps smooth”.

The second verse consists only of three lines explaining how the bird spots its pray and here, the beauty of the bird is more accentuated when the author uses “Brute beauty” to describe how beautiful the bird is, even when it is hunting. The word “brute” has an impact on the readers because this word means violent, wild, but here, the author uses it to emphasize that the beauty is a different kind of beauty; that it is a magnificent beauty, so marvellous and magnificent that there is no better word to describe it than brute. The poem reaches to the climax when the bird spots the pray and the author writes “here buckle!” as if warning us for action. To be prepared. From now on, the rhythm is more steady with lots of comas and faster than the first verse. This gives us the effect that the bird is now descending towards its pray. At the end of this verse, the author addresses to God as “Oh my chevalier!” and this is to thank Him for creating such marvellous things as the bird, full of “Brute beauty” so that humans can enjoy, even though it is only by watching them. When the author addresses to God, the rhythm changes. This matches the ecstasy of the bird in his own physical mastery of the sky.

The last verse consists also in three lines, and here, the relationship of human beings to the natural world is also portrayed. This verse is more as a pronouncement. Here the author stops speaking about the bird and makes us realise how God’s beauty of creation is in everything, even in things where there is no apparent beauty. This is achieved also when Hopkins starts talking about how the “sh�er pl�d” makes even ploughing beautiful and how “blue-bleak embers” are also beautiful.

In conclusion, I think that Hopkins decides to first start talking about the Windhover and about its “Brute beauty” to then compare it to the beauty found in every thing of creation. He relates human being to the beauty of nature because the beauty found in nature comes from human’s sacrifice. The words on Hopkins poem impact me because they make me realise how lucky we are to be part of creation and enjoy the beauty there is from Christ’s sacrifice.

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