The phrase dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon can have several meanings:

1. the dappled (or spotted or variegated) dawn[light] draws the falcon [so the speaker can see it]; or

2. the dappled dawn draws (or attracts) the falcon; or

3. the dappled falcon is drawn (attracted) by the dawn.

Although these various readings do not make the phrase mean the same thing, none of them much changes the meaning of the poem or really conflicts with the others, which suggests that Hopkins wished the reader to reach for all them. What does this kind of phrasing tell us about Hopkins conception of language? reality? poetry? the way poetry should be read?

Last modified 2000