Hawk Roosting Summary
Summarize the poem "Hawk Roosting" by Ted Hughes. What is the poem's theme?
Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes is a poem that speaks of freedom and survival in my opinion. The hawk, in total freedom , sits on a treetop and surveys the world below. The hawk has rehearsed in its mind (while sleeping) its objectives for the day:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.
The focus of the roosting hawk is to survive each day based on its hunting skills and the freedom it enjoys to wander and soar gracefully to achieve its objectives. This hawk has the benefit of a high vantage point to survey its territory and plan its actions. It's as if the hawk is ruler over its domain.
From the viewpoint of the hawk, the reader understands that the hawk is a marvellous creation. Now, the hawk is exerting its influence over some of creation:
Now I hold Creation in my foot
The hawk comes and goes as it desires - and kills at will. The hawk exemplifies the aforementioned freedom and the desire to survive, not letting anything get in its way. The hawk has a laser-like focus on acquiring food for sustenance. This is its primary objective everyday and the hawk desires to continue to live this way - surviving by killing other living creatures - without apology.
"Hawk Roosting" by Ted Hughes is a poem consisting of six four-line stanzas. It is written in free verse and has no regular rhyme pattern. It is written in the first person from the point of view of a hawk.
The hawk character, like many of Hughes' animals, is part of a pantheistic world in which nature, despite its violence and cruelty, possesses a sort of visceral honesty and authenticity. Living is a ceaseless struggle, but the violence of the animals is innocent rather than corrupt, unlike human wars. The hawk reflects:
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads -
There is no real narrative arc to the poem, merely the reflections of the hawk as he perches high up in a tree overlooking the world which he regards as his domain. The hawk has almost a god's point of view, seeing the world as subject to his whim and himself as the arbiter of life and death. When he is awake, he perches, soars, and kills, and when asleep dreams of killing and eating.