Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Delicious words

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.

Gerard Manley Hopkins 


This poem is calling out to be read out loud. Do it. And then hear it being read here.

Words are gorgeous. Dapple-dawn-drawn falcon. Chevalier. Gash gold-vermilion. Taste them properly. Delicious, delicious.

Today, when you notice your small stone, I'd like you to try and enjoy the lusciousness of words as much as you can. Which words sound better together? What order? Read them out loud. Do they work? Do they need to be tweaked?

Mmmm, words.

If you feel moved to do so, it'd be lovely if you shared them in the comments section below.


  1. I absolutely love this poem, especially the way it is read aloud- the sound, the meaning, the title...all of it. :) I researched a little and found out that the word "sillion" was created by the author. That gives me an idea, that maybe it would be a fun idea to create a word in a small stone.

  2. My favourite Hopkins poem..... once I wrote an essay on the Windhover, and called my studio Windhover Weavings.

  3. Gorgeous, words are such a wonderful way of creating a picture. What is so fantastic is that it is not always important to know the meanings. I teach a lot of new to English children: we love sharing their words for familiar things; just trying to shape my mouth around some of their words is like eating a new food for the first time. Often I have no idea of the meaning but love the feel of the sounds.

  4. All that wonderful alliteration. G.M. Hopkins is superb.

  5. Such a wonderful and spiritual poem! Thanks .

  6. Good to see that us river-of-stoners have such good taste!