National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day and this morning, as I was driving over to Stratford in sparkling Autumn sunlight this sonnet by the nineteenth century Jesuit poet, Gerald Manley Hopkins, flashed into my mind and I thought I would share it with you as part of the celebration.

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

6 thoughts on “National Poetry Day

  1. Beautiful words and images… timely for me as I just had my weekly birdwatching expedition, this time walking about 4 hours in below zero temp. For what… if not to see these creatures soar, then land on tree branches, take off again, or others swim gracefully in the river. But this poem is for slow savouring. Thanks for sharing it on this special day.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Arti. It’s a good job it wasn’t this morning. It’s absolutely pouring down. Goodness only what would have come to mind.

    1. I had the pleasure of studying him twice: once at ‘A’ Level and then again as an undergraduate. Consequently it’s his work that comes to mind more readily than almost anything else.

    1. I’ve studied Hopkins twice, Karen, so his words tend to echo round my mind without any effort on my part. I just love his musicality.

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