Thursday, 3 October 2013

Poetry corner

When I was 'doing' my O-levels (as they were called back in 1975), part of my English Literature exam covered the English poets. One scribe in particular gained my admiration, and that was the birding clergyman, Gerard Manley Hopkins.

So, to celebrate National Poetry Day, let's remind ourselves of his celebration of the Kestrel, as described in probably his best known work, The Windhover.
I caught this morning morning's minion, kingdom
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: shèer plòd makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold vermilion.
If that tickles your fancy, seek out his poem in praise of colour and patterning in nature, called Pied Beauty... glory be to God for dappled things, indeed...
North Downs and beyond: sometimes - just sometimes - culture will rear its head.

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