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« The librarian bonus | Main | BFTP: Fair Use Scenarios »

Lit teachers, don't despair

On yesterday morning's windy walk, I caught our neighborhood red-tailed hawk on her raptorial patrol. The first few lines of Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem "The Windover" came to mind when I saw this creature...

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! 

I was introduced to this poem in either high school or college and don't remember being particularly impressed by it. But yesterday, more than forty years later, the sound and images came back. Imperfectly. Probably misinterpreted. But strongly, adding depth to my walk and my life.

English teachers, librarians, poets - don't give up. It just takes some of us a little longer to get it.

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Reader Comments (2)

My husband feels the same way when we go to a national forest and surrounded by old trees. He starts reciting the poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer which he learned in third grade. He keeps saying that his third grade teacher, Ms. McNeely, would be so proud of him! (She even came to our wedding many years ago!)

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

Hi Pat,

Thanks for sharing this. Glad to know I am the only one who does this!


October 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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