"Hawk Roosting" by Ted Hughes

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“Hawk Roosting” by Ted Hughes

        “Hawk Roosting” is written in six regular stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The poem seems to have a regular metrical pattern, as it is laid out in regular blocks. However it does not appear to fit a specific rhyme scheme. The visual presentation of the poem on the page is known as its typography. In “Hawk Roosting” each line of the poem is marked with a capital letter regardless of sentence grammar. In metrical poems there is a tendency for each stanza to end with a full stop, but this is not he case in “Hawk Roosting”. The poem only shows this aspect in the opening two stanzas and the final stanza. The poem is mostly written in short sharp sentences, which makes the language and images more powerful and direct. This can be seen in the last stanza, where each line is a short sentence:

“The sun is behind me.

Nothing has changed since I began.

My eye has permitted no change.

I am going to keep thins like this.”

As can be seen above, the language and the images in the final stanza are more direct and powerful. There is a simple direct style of writing with constant use of everyday language throughout the poem. For example, “I sit in the top of the wood”, “The sun is behind me”, and “I am going to keep things like this”. However in order to suit the character of the Hawk, Hughes uses rather more sophisticated or elegant expressions such as “There is no sophistry in my body” and “Inaction, no falsifying dream”. The hawk connects with us intellectually, as these phrases make us think about their meaning. The hawk also uses some arrogant phrases such as, “The convenience of the high trees”, “of advantage to me” and “for my inspection”. These help emphasise the proud attitude of the hawk. These phrases also show us that the hawk wants to impress us. There is a lot of emphasis on the fact that it is the hawk himself who is speaking. For example, “I” is the first word of the poem. The poem is written in the first person in the present tense, as if the hawk is talking to us now. For example, “I sit”, “I kill” and “I hold”. These help make the poem more immediate and powerful, because we feel as though the hawk is addressing us directly. The poem is about the hawk’s thoughts, in particular about how perfect and great he is.

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There is no human element at all in this poem and so it is solely the hawk that represents nature. He represents nature with his power, and because of his high rank he expresses himself in a formal way. The hawk’s attitude to life is direct and aggressive, and so direct language is used. The hawk expresses himself in short concise sentences to make the language powerful and direct. For example, “The sun is behind me”, “Nothing has changed since I began”, “The allotment of death”, and “I am going to keep things like this”. Most of these sentences are ...

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