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Home » , » What is a windhover? Why do you think the windhover, in particular inspired Hopkins to write this poem?

What is a windhover?

The windhover is a bird with the unusual capability to hover in the air, basically flying in place while it scene the ground in search of prey. The poet describes how he saw these birds in the centre of its hovering. The bird strikes the poet as the darling 'minion' of the morning, the crown prince of the kingdom of daylight, drawn by the dappled colours of dawn. It rides the air as if it were on horseback, moving with steady control like a rider whose hold on the rein is sure and firm. In the poet's imagination, the windhover sits high and proud, tightly reined in, wings quivering and tense. Its motion is controlled and suspended in an ecstatic moment of concentrated energy. Then, in the next moment, the bird is off again, now like an ice skater balancing forces as he makes a turn. The bird, matches the wind's force, in order to stay still, now "rebuff's the big wind" with its forward propulsion. At the same moment, the poet feels his own heart stir, or lurch forward out of "hiding," as it were-moved by "the achievement of the mastery of the bird's performance".

So, if there were any other bird except for the windhover, the hidden power and glory that this particular bird holds which in a sense resembles the mighty power of Christ could not have been satisfactorily expressed in the way that poet wanted. The windhover strikes the reader's mind in a deep way where the reader is persuaded to portray the immense pain that Christ went through, being patient and the strength he was given by the God to resurrect and establish the idea of His power and patience in the heart of mankind.


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