The Windhover

I have meditated much on this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and it becomes deeper and richer the more I do. I see here the mystery that Simone Weil described as “seeing the smile of Christ through creation”. I see here what Dimitru  Staniloae describes, namely that we, as the image-bearers of the Creator, are commissioned to “give creation a voice in praise to their Maker”, in praise to the One whose sole agenda is to win our hearts through authentic love, and whose sole reason for creating creation in the first place is to establish the arena, the superstructure, by which to communicate that truth-bearing love. He stirs our hearts and woos them through the things He has created, inspiring us to give creation a voice and engage in a dialogue with the Creator over the extravagant love gift He has made. Here is the poem:

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.