The Windhover – Hopkins’ Poetry Notes

The Windhover – Hopkins’ Poetry Notes

Summary

  • The poem describes a falcon the poet  has observed. The poem describes how  majestic the falcon is. He compares it to  Jesus, in beauty, strength, bravery and  action. He sees Christ as a warrior.

Themes

  • God & Nature – The falcon inspires Hopkins to think of  God. It’s strength, bravery and beauty  are linked with Christ’s battle against sin  and death. While the falcon battles the  wind, Christ fought against the forces of  Evil.
  • Nature
    • The poem reveals Hopkin’s love of the natural world. This falcon captivated the poet, with its sheer strength, and its magnificent skill in flight. He is in awe of it. He refers to it in terms of royalty. “Daylights dauphin” “kingdom”.
    • The poet is inspired and moved by the bird’s memory aid braveness to take on the wind.

Language

  • Form – Petrarchan rhyme scheme. The first  verse is purely referring to the falcon, but the sestet brings references to  Christ.
  • Imagery
    • There is a large quantity of imagery present. “Striding.. upon the the rein of a wimpling wing” This displays the mastery of the bird in the air. “Skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow bend” shows the gracefulness of the bird.
    • “Blue bleak embers… gash gold vermillion.” This refers to the beauty of the embers as they are dying. This is in reference to Christ, who achieved his most noble feat in death.
  • Sound effects
    • Hopkins uses sound effects to relay his joy and excitement. His alliteration and controlled use of commas in the first five lines give a sense of excitement.
    • The uses of s’s and rolling r’s reveal the falcon’s majestic mastery of the air. The harsh sounds at the end enhances the description of the embers, and death.

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