Thursday, October 19, 2006

I've had a few too many glasses of wine, celebrating Kit Kat Kate's imminent departure to Africa. I'll miss her and at the same time I am so excited for the experience she's about to have. I have only imagined Africa in my mind, and through Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, obviously.

Today was a challenging day, but I don't want it any other way. The Royal Naval Museum is an amazing place to work for an 'outside' researcher with little experience in the Navy! I had a geeky moment earlier today when I became seriously excited about a find in the records, and I began to remember why I decided to freelance as a researcher/writer.

To close and distract, a poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins, and I think my favourite poem of his. As is so much a part of my thinking at the moment, I think Hopkins has here the pure meditation of catching, and holding, one moment of experiencing nature.

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 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-vermillion.

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