Dónall Dempsey

Rookie - 43 Points (15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)


Here in Stratford
upon Avon

our love so
(so Shakespearean)

“...this the very naked name of love...”

& here
upon this
naked hillside

hidden amongst summer’s
long tall grasses

each time
our loving

graced by the presence
of a windhover

as if Gerard Manley Hopkins
blessed our union

sending us this sign

touching us with the beauty
of his lines:

“...a billion times told...lovelier! ”


This windhover(kestrel) seemed to follow us through the unfurling story of our love and always appeared when we were making love whether it be a hotel bedroom or a sunny hillside. As if it were the same windhover watching over us or a blessing from Fr. Hopkins whose poem I had always loved since I was a child.

Here then was the beauty of this woman before me waking to our first morning ever together and her beauty almost blinded me and so the misquote of the Hopkins line...'AND the fire that breaks from thee then...' as her beauty flowered in my mind and almost eclipsed me. Her tongue had taught me comfort...her touch had quenched my tears...had touched my heart. Suddenly love had found me and I surrendered myself to the tenderness that befell me with even the littlest of her smiles.

And yes...she was 'a billion times told lovelier' than I could ever have imagined her. I was blessed and she was my blessing.

And here is Hopkins...in all its wonder and glory!

The Windhover:

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion. King-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn 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: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Submitted: Sunday, August 24, 2008
Edited: Monday, February 23, 2009

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Comments about this poem (AND THE BEAUTY THAT BREAKS FROM THEE THEN! by Dónall Dempsey )

  • Rookie - 0 Points Janice Windle (8/24/2008 4:00:00 PM)

    Donall, you are the most romantic of men, not just the most romantic poet in London, as I heard you described yesterday evening.. Thank you for this lovely tribute... and all the others too...... All (and I do mean all) my love - from Jan xxx (Report) Reply

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