The windhover

 A window is the wind’s eye.

This article is by Carol Rumens

Poem of the week: The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins

This time, Hopkins’s astonishing control of his wildly experimental form is as awe-inspiring as its subject matter

A kestrel

A kestrel in flight. Photograph: Shay Connolly/PA

Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote “The Windhover” in May, 1877. He had been a student at St Bueno’s Theological College for three years, and this was a productive period: the year of “God’s Grandeur”, “Spring” and “The Starlight Night”, among others. “The Windhover” is the most startlingly experimental of this gorgeous tranche of sonnets. Hopkins seems at ease, fully in control of the energies of his sprung rhythm and effortlessly folding the extra-metrical feet he called outrides (see line two, for example) into the conventional sonnet form. He recognised his own achievement, and, sending a revised copy to his friend Robert Bridges, declared that this was the best poem he’d ever written.

Much discussed and interpreted, “The Windhover” plainly begins with, and takes its rhythmic expansiveness from, a vividly observed kestrel. That the bird is also a symbol of Christ, the poem’s dedicatee, is equally certain. Perhaps too, its ecstatic flight unconsciously represents for Hopkins his own creative energy. When he exclaims “How he rung upon the rein…” his image might extend to the restraints and liberations of composition. The phrase means to lead a horse in a circle on the end of a long rein held by its trainer, and it certainly makes a neat poetic metaphor.

What a marvellous sentence Hopkins sets soaring across the first seven lines of the octet: I particularly like those cliff-hanger adjectives summoned “in the riding/ Of the rolling level underneath him steady air”. The diction throughout is rich and strange: “wimpling” (rippling and pleating), “sillion” (a strip of land between two furrows), “the hurl”, “the achieve”. There are resonant ambiguities: “buckle” for example could be imperative or indicative, and it could mean any of three things: to prepare for action (an archaic meaning), to fasten together, or to bend, crumple and nearly break (“buckled like a bicycle wheel” as William Empson remarked when analysing the poem in Seven Types of Ambiguity).

The metaphysics may be complex but the imagery of riding and skating are plain enough. The wheeling skate brilliantly inscapes the bird’s flight-path. It’s important to our sensation of sheer, untrammelled energy that we see only the heel of the skate, and not the skater. Empson wrote that he supposed Hopkins would have been angered by the bicycle-wheel comparison, but I am not at all sure he would have been: the poem welcomes ordinary physical activity, and a cyclist has his heroic energies and painful accidents like any other athlete.

Christ’s Passion is central to the poem, the core from which everything else spirals and to which everything returns. The plunge of the windhover onto its prey suggests not simply the Fall of man and nature, but the descent of a redemptive Christ into the abyss of human misery and cruelty. References to equestrian and military valour (the dauphin, the chevalier) evoke the Soldier Christ, a figure to be found in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola which Hopkins devotedly practised. The swoop of this hawk-like dove is essentially spiritual, of course. But the poem doesn’t forget or devalue the “sheer plod” of the farm-labourer – another alter ego, I suspect.

It’s remarkable how the sestet slows down without losing energy. Instead of flight there is fire: is this a reference to Christ’s post-mortem descent into Hell? The adoring “O my Chevalier” softens to a Herbert-like, tender “Ah my dear”. And now the great impressionist painter, having so far resisted any colour beyond that suggestive “dapple-dawn”, splashes out liberally with the “blue-bleak” embers and the “gold-vermilion” produced by their “gall” and “gash” (both words, of course, associated with the Crucifixion). Again, there is terra firma as well as metaphysics. The earth is broken by the plough in order to flare gloriously again, and the warm colours suggest crops as well as Christ’s redemptive blood. Beyond that, we glimpse some other-worldly shining, a richness not of earth alone. As always in Hopkins’s theology, Grace in the religious sense is not to be divorced from athletic, natural, often homoerotic, grace. In fact, it is fuelled by it.

The Windhover
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.

Translated into melody and song

My faults are now the opposite of sin.

For I was taught that women  never swore.

Yet is this  but a private world I’m in,

Where women love and  men, at least ,adore?

No language Anglo-Saxon did we  hear

Ensuring we thought  not what “fuck” might mean.

Was it related to good luck yet  freer?

My mind throws up a lark in moorland  scene

The man who was my father greatly loved;

And  often sang us into sleep and dreams.

But sadly from this life he was removed.

Leaving   me accursed  wtrh blocked out screams .

Today I tell my tale in my  own tongue

Translated into melody and song

In this the world of war

I’m afraid  to read what’s happening

My spirit cries and wails

We can’t go on to war,

Might they read the  News in braille?

I am tired of talk of foreigners

Aren’t we  passengers inone boat

So  why  not work with our  love and hope

To keep our sacred world afloat.?

We  shout out prayers and litanies;

We fast and we abstain;

But God is looking down his periscope

And he  says  the Way is plain.

I saw the soldiers  ready with their weapons cocked

For millennia and aeons

For men must prove their potency


Now the women have to fight as well

And we wear  big plugs inside  our ears

We restrict our gaze without  the need for scarves

And we deny our fears.

Let them read the News in Babylon

Let them collapse in Jericho

Let the walls be ever built anew

To make old animosities re-grow.

Shout the News in Cyber space

Type it on your blog

What worth is this old human race

In this unholy bog?

I  once held my hands out to you

Across  seas and oceans wide

I sang and told my stories

But your  fighting won’t subside.

My hand is getting weary now

I cannot hold it out much more.

I never felt the warmth of you

Saw an image of closed doors…

So,go  shout it in Jerusalem

We  have so many  Wailing Walls

Go shout it out in Syria

Where was man before the Fall?

The lions lived on weetabix

And the tigers  leaves of grass.

The zebras got  their stripes re-done

But all that men surpass.

When I was a  puking baby

They atom  bombed Japan

Already, Europe’s Jews were gone.

Who was it walked  the Walk of Man?


Magnifying Glass over Dictionary
Magnifying Glass over Dictionary

Intergossips a curious word
Two parts Middle English,I read;.
Inter is between,
Is it Latin, I mean?
Intergossip’s a hybrid in thirds.

Gossip comes  from God  and sib in Middle English and used to mean a godparent.It did not then have a negative meaning.

Now the gossip in our little town
Makes one’s hair change from white into brown
For we gossip with love,
As in heaven above.
Soon we’ll gain fame and renown.

Is email a terror?


Is he male and a terror? No,I mean  is email  an error?

I googled all night  with him.Am I with child or just wild?
I  got phished out of the river Jordan and went West and East as I can’t swim
He has broken my tart with his  ink
And deliver us from hacking.O,Lord. And surveill us not
Please flaunt me tonight and tomorrow.
The doctor want half my nose and  £3,000… Is  this a new rite de passage?
Deport me now,please let me row.And drown
I don’t love wolves  by the score.
My floor is always hoping for you to step on it
I love you so clutch.
He was schizo -affectionate.. he was in two blinds about me
His personality was ordered but we don’t  kno2 by whom.Anyway he was so orderly it was a disorder if you can blunderstand it like I don’t

He floundered all over me and wandered up and down.. eventually he managed to draw a map of my entire body.Is this usual in a boyfriend?

His sagacity was a fright to all.He blighted my troth

Mental misrule update




Irritable boundary personality disorder.
Rubber boundary personality disorder
Unacceptable boundary lines disorder
Invisible boundary disorder.
Friendly feinting disorder.
Bully personality psychosis.
Prying personality disorder..
Irresolute male disoyder.
Self righteous soul disorder.
God bothering disorder.
Victim seeking personality disorder
Materialistic greed disorder.
Birds nests disorder .
Failing to brush the hair on the back of your head disorder
Disguised theft societal disorder.
Praying for others without permission disorder.
Laughing cavalierly personality disorder.
Unwillingness to care societal disorder…
Over exposed photos male disorder.
Gadget collecting personality tendency leading to more orders.
Instruction manual induced psychosis.
Translation disorder
Soul destroying societal disorder.
Humiliating others personality disorder.
Spiritual tendency errors in navigation neurosis.
Writing obsession in just one of many:sex,icecream.sunshine,love,wool,pianos,paper,newspapers,photos

Treatment is sometimes rest,arrest, or kinder revolution than before…We hope… or maybe meditation for 15 minutes twice daily for women and three times for men..
Complaining lady personality misrule
Look here,this is not what I ordered.
Well,someone did!

Lord love a duckPhoto0205

Viewpoints, a musing



What is the point of my view?
what is my point of view?

If you are in a different place from me then we need to take account of that.


A point of view depends on where you point,I suppose… you could rotate and see a different view from the same spot…
Now pointed questions ar a different thing altogether.. like arrows,perhaps.
A loaded question is like a gun.. dangerous or tormenting or showing power..
He has the appointed viewer here now…. a civil servant perhaps?A government official?
So many of our phrases come from art and poetry.. language was once entirely poetry until the metaphors set like hard jelly and we find it hard to burst out of it…as it were…
We live off the poetry of men and women long gone from this earth,though many no doubt became soil and so are still here spread about… all over the world.. just think a woem could be digesting Oliver Cromwell!



A worm has just a simple life
No sister, children nor a wife
And yet we never hear complaints…
Thus language gives and language taints




Image by author

Doctor,doctor,I’m worried about my coughin’.
What about your coffin?
Well,it’s keeping me awake at night.
Why, are you sleeping in it?
I have only got  one place to sleep.
If you were tired you could sleep anywhere!
Is that legal?
of course it is. legal
Well,can I sleep in the Queen’s bed?
In theory,yes… but you might frighten the horses.
Why, do they sleep with her? She must have a big bed.
Don’t be so ridiculous…
Well,she has loads of money.. she, could have a bed made for her.
She has a bed maid,
Do you mean someone makes her bed every day.
Well,don’t you make yours every day?
No,I bought one in a bed store and it’s well built and good and solid too,
But do you change the sheets daily?
NoiI never use paper I write letters on my chromebook.
What letters? 
Any letters at all,except French ones.
But they use our alphabet.
it’s not ours.
Whose is it?
Possibly the Romans.Tantrum ergo!
They are all long gone into their coffins.Uno,duo tres,quattore…,decem,duodecem,duagessin’..
I knew coughin’ was very dangerous
I think your grammar is bed.
What a posh excent you have
It’s all I have left of the old Palace.
Well, never mind you can share my coffin if you like.
But is there a bed in it?
Just a bed bug as yet…
I blame the CIA.. whom do you blame?
I blame God and he blames us so it’s pretty much a stalemate.
We need the Messiah…..
Not again,we’ve not got over the last one yet…
You make him sound like a hurdle…
Well,it’s one way of looking at it all.. a big hurdle.
It’s all this talkin’ keeps me awake at night…
At least it stops you coughin’.

Doctor,doctor,the coughin’s keeping me up all night.

For goodness sake put the lid on it!

Those words I’ve never yet understood

Synecdoche is a word I never knew.Metaphors and similes we were taught in school but metonym was not and synecdoche is related to that.An example is calling workmen on your farm “hired hands” and so would calling a woman a housewife,perhaps.I doubt if I shall use this word as I once tried to tell a joke at a dinner party involving the word,”solipsist” and it went down like a ton of bricks!

No,for social purposes I need to watch” low level” TV and get used to language which was never used in my youth; nowadays I could say,Oh fucking hell,I’ve lost my ear ring but not,I like a good metaphor that is not hackneyed,Or,what do you think of metonyms?

I also need to watch fat bald chefs cooking daft recipes full of limes,cream and spices before watching the News to find which celebrity is on trial for raping children.Then I have to watch soap operas and adverts for Swedish cars before microwaving a ready made meal I froze 3 months ago.Then I shall be fit to dine with the good and the great in their houses wth magnolia walls , chaise longues and oval beech dining tables.And eat those Nigella Lawson recipes without recalling her ex-husband art collector Charles Saatchi

On second thoughts I’ll stay at home with the dictionary and the cat


Semiotics:a sign has two parts

A sign consists of the  signified and the signifier

If what is signified is love,the signifier may vary … it can be a  “x “.a bunch of flowers,a poem.

Of course it may be misunderstood if two people come from different cultures/countries  or even different parts of the same country with maybe a different form of Christianity,with an atheisitic family etc

Some people tend to see a meaning in an act or word that was not intended…if carried too far it can lead to paranoia…I can imagine writing a funny play based on such confusion

More from Wikipedia


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ferdinand de Saussure theorizes that a “sign[clarification needed] has two parts: signifier and signified. The signifier is the form that the sign will take, whether it be a sound or image and the signified is the meaning that is conveyed.


Signifier: the word ‘tree’ = Signified: the mental image of a tree.

Charles Sanders Pierce analyzed sign systems and came up with the following: An Icon signifies by resemblance. An Indexical sign signifies by causal connection and finally, a Symbol signifies by learned convention.

See also

The ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ Life of Sylvia Plath – Karen Swallow Prior – The Atlantic

The ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ Life of Sylvia Plath – Karen Swallow Prior – The Atlantic.

Another  piece about the poet  and novelist  Sylvia Plath… who seemed to have found post modernism in her writing before it was known and labelled

Words rise up like geese at dawn

York Minster,home of sacred song and word
York Minster,home of sacred song and word


After writing about maps I began to write about words.Words are very powerful in any kind of society but more so in a highly literate one.Words can be sacred or mundane.They can be loving or heartbreaking.And in English we have so many of them because English was developed from several other languages….Anglo-Saxon,French,Latin,Greek,Celtic… more than one word for some things.Here in this poem I compare words to birds [ geese ] flocking into the sky like words flock into our minds


Words rise up like geese at dawn

When with pale sun new day is born

The words approach and dance in line

The choice of words is mine

Words spelled here by sense and sound

In clause and sentence weave around.

Which tempting words shall I now use

And which shall I refuse?

The fire lights up inside my heart

So now my writing hand can start/

I sit down at my desk and say

“This is the way I spend my day.

With words I sing and play”.

Misreading beween the lines

??????????There is  no doubt we  all do this reading between the lines…sometimes consciously,sometimes unwittingly.We attempt to fill in gaps in our knowledge.There are a few problems.One is in cultural differences which may affect us here on the web.We come from very different societies and the meanings of certain words and attitudes does vary considerably;

And another factor is our own desires which we are  not always aware of.We may then interpret someone’s words in a way which fits with our desire or interpret someone using bad language to signify that they do not respect us.If the Soaps are an indication it seems in much of Britain every other word has just four letters. which to me shows poverty of feelings and language… but it means many people are not offended by them…But many still are.

So wishful thinking,ignorance,wanting to believe something,,,,,..cultural ignorance.. all these may make communication difficult.Perhaps we should not read too much between the lines at the beginning of a friendship…and be wary of imputing desires to another when they seem to offer what we are hoping for.

It’s a bit like the way here nearly everyone puts “love” or “xxxxx” at the end of a letter or email… so that in reality it means  almost nothing at all;Words become meaningless through overuse and we  will have to judge in other ways what a person feels for us..

Some people are more prone to seeing patterns or meanings in things which can be creative but it can also lead to paranoia in the insecure or lonely individual who has become the center of a huge important plot.When I was ill as a child I remember seeing faces leering at me from the wallpaper and the oil heater hissed menacingly,,, it was the fever but I was afraid…We need friends to tell us if our interpretations seem sensible and to comfort us when we are low.. and we need to be wary of assuming too much especially when we come from different cultures

English Literature: Death of the Author

Wordle: loci similes
Wordle: loci similes (Photo credit: filologanoga)
literary criticism of john ruskin
literary criticism of john ruskin (Photo credit: cdrummbks)
TCLC - Twentieth Century  Literary Criticism
TCLC – Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (Photo credit: CCAC North Library)

English Literature: Death of the Author.

No boasts to flog today,I leer.

Time Train Super Coilections of Makinga Beauti...
Time Train Super Coilections of Makinga Beautiful Everydav Makeiny Time Very Verv Happines Free (Photo credit: G A R N E T)


Keep off the lass
Keep off the spawn.
Do not wash the cat whilst wearing.
Please talk in single style
Catholic must remain waste until ferried and done for.
Do not iron yourself whilst swearing.
Please wean yourself off the grass.
Do not bleat and talk simultaneously.
Flocks in pastures keep back sliding
Pests in the Lord.
Do not gnash your wreaths whilst smoking.
Please cut out the spire if needful,
Please bait graciously.
No balking on the Sabbath
No needles are told here
Non feet eaters please tell the most

The larger part is silence

Real Presences: Is There Anything in What We Say?
Real Presences: Is There Anything in What We Say? (Photo credit: Sol S.)
2548 George Steiner
2548 George Steiner (Photo credit: Rexburg Historical Society)

Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.”
George Steiner, Language & Silence: Essays on Language, Literature & the Inhuman

Paris Review – The Art of Criticism No. 2, George Steiner

Paris Review – The Art of Criticism No. 2, George Steiner.

A fascinating interview

.Quote:For me the personal turning point was Pol Pot. Very few knew at the time about Auschwitz. Yes, there were bastards who knew, there were sons of bitches who knew and who didn’t believe it, but they were a tiny number. Nazi secrecy on this was fantastically efficient. The killing fields were on radio and television while they were going on, and we were told that Pol Pot was burying alive one hundred thousand men, women and children. Now I cannot attach honest meaning to the phrase “to bury alive one man, woman or child.” One hundred thousand! I almost went out of my mind in those days with bitter impotence. I was obsessed with the hope that Russia and America would say, “We don’t know what the rights and wrongs of this incredible geopolitical mess are but forty-five years after the Holocaust or after the gulag, we can’t shave in the morning, we can’t look at ourselves, knowing a hundred thousand people are being buried alive; the razor doesn’t work on the skin. No woman can put on her makeup and think of herself as human. If you don’t stop this, we’ll come in.” I’d hoped ………….

By my bed - À cabeceira
By my bed – À cabeceira (Photo credit: * starrynight1)



Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in Schools | Edutopia

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
    The earth, and every common sight,
            To me did seem
    Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.          5
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
        Turn wheresoe’er I may,
            By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

William  Wordsworth wrote the  poem above

Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in Schools | Edutopia.


The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...
The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse and paragraphs, not in lines or stanzas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe it’s very good to learn poetry by heart;I was lucky to study modern poetry in school.Poetry can express feelings and knowledge that ordinary language cannot.

I found out after writing some poetry myself that it made reading poetry much easier.So I recommend writing poetry even if it’s terrible because you learn so much and it opens a door into a new world

I love the Ode by Wordsworth.I never tried to learn it.It learned me!

My MBTI Personality Type – MBTI Basics – The 16 MBTI Types

My MBTI Personality Type – MBTI Basics – The 16 MBTI Types

Photo1744 Photo1745

This is written by a woman who is a novelist.I like her style

The Death Throes of Romanticism: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath – University of San Francisco (USF)

23 Fitzroy Road, London : The house where Sylv...
23 Fitzroy Road, London : The house where Sylvia Plath committed suicide. It was also W.B. Yeats’s residence for a while. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Death Throes of Romanticism: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath – University of San Francisco (USF). by J C Oates

English: Grave of Sylvia Plath The grave of po...
English: Grave of Sylvia Plath The grave of poet Sylvia Plath in Heptonstall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a fascinating essay by the novelist Joyce Carol intelligent and thoughtful…not to be missed