20 July 2013
Who is God? Gerard Hopkins spent his life finding the answer through his poetry and exploring the nature around him. In Gerard Hopkins' poem "The Windhover" there is a representational allusion to Christ and Jesus. The speaker praises the Lord by praising what he takes as a symbol for Christ. Throughout the poem the speaker symbolizes Christ's glory by the way the falcon reacts to the air, how it maneuvers and even characteristic traits of the falcon species. The poem uses alliteration, internal rhyming, compound metaphors, elliptical grammar and complex threads of connotation. One could only appreciate the glory of the Lord more after interpreting the poem.
The poem is almost impossible to understand without good background knowledge about Hopkins’s ideas and his odd words. There are many words of the Anglo-Saxon origin like rung (past tense of ‘ring’), minion, dauphin, and chevalier. There are also unusual combinations like “dapple-dawn-drawn”, which is an image of the bird. The last stanza is particularly complex because of the associatively linked words related to Christ and his sacrifice. Finally, the grammar is also odd; actually the poem does not follow any traditional grammar and structure. In short, the poem can be discussed as a sonnet because it has some of the features of the typical sonnet, but it must be called a modified sonnet adapted to a different kind of subject, word-game and music.
The poem is therefore the thanksgiving to Christ. It is a hymn that is romantic in form but religious in theme. When the poet sees the beautiful bird, he is reminded of Christ and becomes thankful and appreciative of him. The poem’s theme is therefore related to the poet’s praise of Christ rather than being about the bird.
Hopkins has mixed his romantic fascination with the nature and his religious favor of gratitude towards God for giving us a beautiful nature. The beauty of nature is illustrated...
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