Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'm watching for sparks -- gold-vermilion with life and beauty -- that burst unexpectedly from bleak embers. I want to trap them for a moment, encourage their brilliance with my breath, and bring a jar of them home to glow on my coffee table. This blog is the jar.

To give credit where credit is do, I'd like to begin my blogging advanture with a poem by G.M. Hopkins -- a Jesuit priest from the 1800's who knew a lot about trapping sparks. This poem describes the power and beauty of a windhover in flight and the even greater power and beauty of the bird's sudden "buckle" as it dives. The poem is inscribed "To Christ our Lord" who, like the windhover, achieved the hight of his brilliance and beauty in the moment of his buckle.

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 a 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: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

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