Power, Politics and Poetry Project

Ashlyn Singer and Megan Allen

The Hawk in the Rain by Ted Hughes

I drown in the drumming ploughland, I drag up
Heel after heel from the swallowing of the earth's mouth,
From clay that clutches my each step to the ankle
With the habit of the dogged grave, but the hawk

Effortlessly at height hangs his still eye.
His wings hold all creation in a weightless quiet,
Steady as a hallucination in the streaming air.
While banging wind kills these stubborn hedges,

Thumbs my eyes, throws my breath, tackles my heart,
And rain hacks my head to the bone, the hawk hangs,
The diamond point of will that polestars
The sea drowner's endurance: And I,

Bloodily grabbed dazed last-moment-counting
Morsel in the earth's mouth, strain to the master-
Fulcrum of violence where the hawk hangs still.
That maybe in his own time meets the weather

Coming the wrong way, suffers the air, hurled upside-down,
Fall from his eye, the ponderous shires crash on him,
The horizon trap him; the round angelic eye
Smashed, mix his heart's blood with the mire of the land.

Sonic Analysis

Ted Hughes uses a lot of words that start with consonants to make the words seem heavy which adds to the heavy and jealous tone of the poem. He also adds to the heaviness of the poem by creating lines with alliteration.


"I drown in the drumming ploughland."

"Thumbs my eyes, throws my breath, tackles my heart."

"From clay that clutches"

When words that start with hard consonants are used together, it gives the poem a sense of hardship and heaviness which is what Ted Hughes was trying to convey throughout the poem.

Tonic Analysis

This poem has an overall tone of jealousy and rage against nature and our circumstances. It starts out with a depressing scene, describing the anguish and suffering felt by the subject as he struggles on earth. The tone is then carried out until in the second stanza when he sees a hawk, who seems to effortlessly navigate the obstacles the subject is finding difficult. His tone is then made jealous and enraged at the injustices made against him, and proceeds to describe how worse his conditions are than the hawk. But, by the last stanza, the subject not only has a tone of vengence towards the hawk, but also has an undertone of forsight. It is now assumed that the subject has finally realized the inescapability of nature and obstacles in general, and that eventually everyone will meet the same fate.

Artistic Analysis

This poem is very dark and shows a struggle between man and nature, and the jealousy that comes between them. This picture was chosen to represent the poem, because it not only has a dark feel to it, but the contrast bewteen the moon and the clouds shows tension and conflict.
Big image

Thematic Analysis

The theme of this poem is the contrast between the steadiness of a hawk as opposed to the unsteadiness and the sense of danger of a human being when it is raining heavily and when a strong, cold wind is also blowing. The hawk shows his strong will against the rain and against the violence of the wind, while the man feels that his end is near. However, the last stanza shows a different idea; it talks about the hawk's possible downfall. The hawk would one day meet his end when, “coming the wrong way,” he might be hurled downwards by the fury of the storm and killed. Hughes was showing how graceful the hawk was compared to man, but also that it wasn't immortal. Many of his poems, like this one, were written about nature and things he appreciates about it.

This can be compared to another one of Hughes' poems, titled "Hawk Roosting" which also talks about the same ideas about the power the hawk holds.

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.

Works Cited

""THE HAWK IN THE RAIN" by Ted Hughes «." N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.