‘…my heart in hiding/Stirred for a bird’
from Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins
A story of love, grief and wilderness, of inner and outer landscape, of hearts stirred by a bird.
Published by Vintage 2014; winner of the Costa Book Award 2014
The Song of the Caged Hawk
High in the hiss of shrill chill winds, in league with roughneck frost,
The skyward-striking scouring goshawk veers through dawnlit day.
Thick mists are riven, closed clouds cleft, the rainbow hacked in half.
He thunders by, bolts, blazes, skims low hills and is away.
The fell swoosh of his killstroke quills cuts through the thorn and bush,
He falls to poach a fox or hare then soars, long gone, in gray.
With fur-flung claws and blood-drunk beak, scourge of a billion birds,
He stands alone, and scans the world- the fierce, proud Lord of Prey.
Then molten months and blistering winds burst on him unawares.
His moulted feathers fall. Hewn in the heart, he broods at bay.
The grassborn rats and cats he prized become his persecution.
Ten times a night he stares about in shellshock and dismay.
by Liu Kongyuan, 773-819AD