Gerard Hopkins in â€œThe Windhoverâ€ puts divinity into human form as he compares the hovering bird to Christ. He writes a masterful description of the experience of watching the birdâ€™s physical feats and his heartâ€™s response to the experience. The poemâ€™s subtitle â€œTo Christ our Lordâ€ gives the reader the message that this poem is about more than just the moving experience of watching the windhover. This whole experience of observing the bird is a reflection of the glory of Christâ€™s life and resurrection. Hopkins uses phrases throughout the poem that refer to both the bird and to Christ.
The poet sees the bird as an incarnated Christ. Hopkins implies that the hawk is wounded just as Christ was wounded as a man. In the beginning octave, he uses phrases that refer to royalty as he describes the bird, and Christ, as the â€œminion,â€ (1) the beloved of the morning and as the crown prince, â€œdauphin,â€ (2) of the kingdom of daylight. The hawk is described as riding the air as if it were on horseback, moving with steady control like a rider whose has firm control of the reins. At the end of the octave the rider is called, â€œmy chevalier,â€ (11) a traditional image of Christ on horseback. .
The motions of the bird can also be identified with Christ. The bird is depicted as â€œhung on the reinâ€ (4) so that he cannot go away. Christ is â€œreinedâ€ in that he is always available to mortals for the bestowal of grace. Christâ€™s transfiguration is implied as the poet speaks of the birdâ€™s â€œstriding on highâ€ (4). As the poet feels his heart stir as he watches the actions of the bird, oneâ€™s heart stirs as one considers spiritual power and glory of Christ. The descriptive terms â€œbrute beauty, valor, and actâ€ show that the beauty of the bird in flight cannot compare to the glory of Christ as He is a â€œbillion/ Times told lovelier, more dangerousâ€ (10-11).