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 short and use simple language. This creates direct powerful images, as there is nothing else in the sentence to distract or confuse the reader. The vocabulary used in the poem is a mixture of ordinary and unusual words such as “I sit in the top of the wood”, “the rough bark” and “the allotment of death”, “sophistry in my body”.
There are many powerful images in “Hawk Roosting”, which help to reflect the character of the hawk. For example, the hawk is presented as being aggressive, ruthless and barbaric which is expressed through the violent image “My manners are tearing off heads”. This image presents the hawk as being violent and shows him being in control. The sentence is short and direct. Other images such as “I am going to keep things like this”, and “the earth’s face upward for my inspection” show the arrogance of the hawk. When awake and in sleep the hawk also likes to “rehearse perfect kills”. The boastful hawk also sees the height of the trees, the air’s buoyancy and the sun’s heat as things arranged especially for his convenience. He sees the whole of the earth as his own, which can be seen in the line, “The earth’s face upward for my inspection”. This personification of the earth shows the hawk in control of it like a king. The hawk is presented as a God like figure.
The general tone of the poem can be noticed throughout the play. The hawk is proud of who he is and shows this through the images and the tone of voice. When read aloud the poem sounds like a politician’s speech, because the hawk wants to impress people. The tone changes through the play with the different ideas and attitudes that are created. For example, there is a hard and brutal tone in the line “My manners are tearing off heads”. The hawk speaks emphatically and is confident that we will find him as fascinating as he does himself. This can be seen in the lines,
“It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot”
There is an arrogant tone of voice in lines such as “I hold creation in my foot” and “the earth’s face upward for my inspection”. The last line, “I am going to keep things like this” also shows the hawks arrogance in the way that he believes that it is himself who controls the things around him.