Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes Summary and Analysis

About the poem  Hawk Roosting

“Hawk Roosting” is a poem written by the English poet Ted Hughes. It is written from the perspective of a hawk, who reflects on its power and superiority over the other creatures in the natural world.

In the poem, the hawk sits atop a tree with its eyes closed, rehearsing “perfect kills” and savoring the convenience of the high trees. The hawk sees itself as the master of the natural world, holding “Creation in my foot” and killing where it pleases because it sees everything as being “all mine.”

The hawk reflects on the primal instincts of the natural world and its sense of superiority over other creatures. It sees itself as pure consciousness, superior to the other elements of the natural world, such as the rain, rutted clay, and swelling veins of the earth.

“Hawk Roosting” is a powerful and provocative poem that explores themes of power, violence, and the duality of nature. It reflects on the primal instincts of the natural world and the hawk’s sense of superiority over other creatures.

  • It was Ted Hughes, one of the most prominent poets of the 20th Century poets, who wrote the poem  Hawk Roosting
  • It was published in his second collection of poetry called Lupercall (1960)
  • Here, in Hawk Roosting a hawk is provided the power of speech as well as thought; it allows the readers to imagine what it is like to inhabit (I) the instincts (II) attitude (III) behaviors of such a creature
  • The Hawk features an air of authority, looking down on the world from its high vantage point in the trees as well as feeling as if everything belongs to it
  • Ted Hughes through Hawk Roosting is especially keen to stress the way the violence in the world of the Hawk at least, is not some kind of moral wrong, but a part of nature
  • This poem is regarded as one of a large number of poems in which this poet explores the animal world
I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air's buoyancy and the sun'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.

The Hawk Roosting Summary

The speaker of the poem Hawk Roosting is a Hawk. He says that he sits at the top of the forest with his eyes shut. While there (sitting “in the top of” the forest) he is doing nothing, holding no false dreams between the curved beak of his head as well as the curved talons of his feet. As far as his sleep is concerned; he (in his sleep) dreams about killing his prey in the perfect way as well as eating them.

Here, in the Stanza of The Hawk Roosting, the speaker says the trees of the forest are quite well-suited to his way of being.  According to him, the air he floats on as well as the light of the sun appears perfectly adapted to his way of life. Moreover, the earth faces the sky which is why he will be capable of inspecting it. 

The speaker through the third stanza of The Hawk Roosting informs the readers his feet are gripped tightly to the branch of the tree. He says that it took millions of years for making his foot as well as every single feather. He sometimes holds other products of Creation in his feet when he catches them.

In the fourth stanza of the poem The Hawk Roosting, he says that as far as the other times are concerned; he soars high into the sky, revolving around the world around him as he spirals up in slow circles. He kills at any time as well as at any place he likes/desires as the world belongs to him. He finds no use for clever but false logical thinking: it is his politeness that is ripping the heads of his prey.

The poet, in the fifth stanza of The Hawk Roosting, through his speaker says that this is the way death gets dished out. In addition, his one true way brings him straight through life, causing others to die. He finds no need for logical justifications for his actions.

The hawk, in the last stanza of The Hawk Roosting, says that he flies between the earth as well as the sun whichever has been this way. His gaze has not provided permission for anything to change. Therefore, he will keep things as this permanently or forever.

 The Hawk Roosting Analysis

“Hawk Roosting” is a poem written by the English poet Ted Hughes. It is written from the perspective of a hawk, who reflects on its power and superiority over the other creatures in the natural world.

The poem begins with the hawk sitting atop a tree with its eyes closed, rehearsing “perfect kills” and savoring the convenience of the high trees. The hawk sees itself as the master of the natural world, holding “Creation in my foot” and killing where it pleases because it sees everything as being “all mine.”

Throughout the poem, Hughes uses vivid and evocative language to convey the hawk’s sense of power and superiority. The hawk sees itself as pure consciousness, superior to the other elements of the natural world, such as the rain, rutted clay, and swelling veins of the earth. The hawk’s “manners” are described as “tearing off heads,” and the poem reflects on the primal instincts of the natural world and the hawk’s role as the “allotment of death.”

In terms of theme, “Hawk Roosting” explores the power dynamics of the natural world and the hawk’s sense of superiority over other creatures. It also touches on the theme of the duality of nature, and the ways in which the natural world can be both beautiful and violent.

Overall, “Hawk Roosting” is a powerful and provocative poem that reflects on the primal instincts of the natural world and the hawk’s sense of superiority over other creatures. It explores themes of power, violence, and the duality of nature through vivid and evocative language.

 How many stanzas are there in Ted Hughes’ poem Hawk Roosting?

Hawk Roosting comprises six stanzas of four lines each.

What are the themes of the poem Hawk Roosting?

(I) Violence as well as Cruelty (II) Death, and (III) Natural Law are the themes of Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes.

How did Ted Hughes write Hawk Roosting?

Ted Hughes wrote the poem Hawk Roosting as a dramatic monologue. It is told from the point of view of a bird called a hawk.

What is the context of hawk Roosting?

The context of “Hawk Roosting” is the natural world and the relationships between animals and the environment. The poem reflects on the primal instincts of the natural world and the ways in which power dynamics play out in the animal kingdom. It also touches on the theme of the duality of nature, and the ways in which the natural world can be both beautiful and violent.

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