Thursday, May 12, 2016

Riding on the Wind

It's Poetry Friday and I'm trying to get back on track. After traveling for ten days and teaching at a yoga training and writing a month worth of poems a day (my first time for managing such a feat), I'm finally coming back to some equilibrium!

Violet Nesdoly is hosting Poetry Friday at her blog. Stop by and enjoy.

There were moments in the last month when I felt the astonishing freshness of walking into a strong wind. You know how it feels when the press of air is so fierce, you can stand still and lean into it and not fall flat on your face? And then there were moments when I felt like a fallen leaf blown helter skelter with no ability to determine its own course.

During the month, I re-read this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I love the power of this picture of the falcon riding on the current of air.

Photo by Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Windhover
by Gerard Manly Hopkins

             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-vermilion.

Click here for a beautiful reading of the poem.


  1. Beautiful post, Doraine - and I needed a dose of GM Hopkins! "the mastery of the thing" - indeed. :0)

  2. No matter the feeling, perhaps we all wish for "underneath him steady air". Breaking the pattern as you have during these travels sometimes does leave us discomfited. I like that you found a poem for support.

  3. "The Windhover" is such a magnificent poem--thanks for sharing it, and the link to the read (he did read it well!). I had no idea you were stretched during April. Your offerings felt so easy and natural. I, for one, am glad you pushed it through.

  4. I just read this same poem in my Norton Anthology (still have mine from college poetry class) and marveled over the alliteration, the exclamations, the line indents and the movement, all while hearing the music in my ears. Ahhh, poetry.

  5. Somehow Hopkins gives the impression of flight, just with his words. Wonderful how he soars!

  6. GM Hopkins. Lucky you to feel that soaring feeling as you wrote last month. (hoping you'll submit your work as a manuscript -- it was that fabulous!

  7. Hmmm. This is the second place I thought I'd left a comment, only to find it has disappeared. I wonder what was going on with my connections? At any rate, I'm trying again. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem by Hopkins.