Hawk Roosting

Hawk Roosting :

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes


Inaction, no falsifying dream

Between my hooked head and hooked


Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!

The air’s buoyancy and the sub’s ray

Are of advantage to me;

And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.

It took the whole of Creation

To produce my foot, my each feather:

Now I hold Creation in my foot.

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly—

I kill where I please because it is all mine.

There is no sophistry in my body:

My manners are tearing off heads.

The allotment of death.

For the one path of my flight is direct

Through the bones of the living.

No arguments assert my right.

The sun is behind me.

Nothing has changed since I began,

My eye has permitted no change.

I am going to keep things like this.

Ted Hughes (1930–1998) completed his education at Pembroke College, Cambridge. In 1956, he married the poet Sylvia Plath. He tried to make a living in America by teaching and writing. Finally, he returned to England. The most remarkable quality of Hughes’ poems is an intense and obsessive fascination with the world of birds and animals; and though essentially about birds, animals and fishes, his poems shock us with unusual phrases and violent images. The above poem is in the form of a monologue.

The word POETRY originates from a Greek word meaning TO MAKE. A poet is thus a maker and the poem something that is made or created. No single definition of poetry is possible but some characteristic features of poetry may be mentioned. Poetry has a musical quality with rhythm, pitch, metre and it may use figures of speech such as simile and metaphor. While quite a few poems in this selection are in traditional forms, the unit also includes modern poems that are free from formal restrictions.

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