Liberated Eagle in 19th century poetry

I like the flag of Kazakhstan. I don’t understand the symbolism of it but what I really like is the eagle.  I’ve been on a poetry spell because when it is winter and vacation, one has to read something.  I also suddenly feel philosophical about my lot in life.  Doesn’t everyone at some point?  I like the sun in the Kazakh flag because it provides warmth. Cold, winter and snow may drive us to our knees thinking about what we are doing in a land that is isolated and difficult to get to.  I’m glad I am from Minnesota because it has toughened me to the realities of life in Astana, Kazakhstan.  There’s liberty in flying.  See what this poem is about concerning William Tell. The last part I understand about a liberated eagle, poetry buffs, help me out on the first part of the poem.

William Tell Among the Mountains By J.S. Knowles

from the book “Uncle Herbert’s Speaker” @ 1891

pseudonym Delia Knipe

[Also poem found in “The Orator’s Manual” by George Lansing Raymond thanks to a google search]

Ye craigs and peaks, I’m with you once again!

I hold to you the hands you first beheld,

To show they still are free.  Methinks I hear

A spirit in your echoes answer me,

And bid your tenant welcome to his home

Again! O sacred forms, how proud ye look!

How high you lift your heads into the sky!

How huge you are! How mighty and how free!

Ye are the things that tower, that shine, whose smile

Makes glad, whose frown is terrible, whose forms,

Robed or unrobed, do all the impress wear

Of awe divine. Ye guards of liberty!

I’m with you once again!—I call to you

With all my voice! I hold my hands to you

To show they still are free.  I rush to you,

As though I could embrace you!

Scaling yonder peak,

I saw an eagle wheeling, near its brow,

O’er the abyss in his broad-expanded wings,

Lay calm and motionless upon the air,

As if he floated there without the aid,

By the sole act of his unlorded will,

That buoyed him proudly up. Instinctively

I bent my bow; yet kept he rowing still,

His airy circle, as in the delight

Of measuring the ample range beneath

And round about; absorbed, he heeded not

The death that threatened him, I could not shoot

T’was liberty! – I turned my bow aside,

And let him soar away!

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Herman said,

    Beautiful flag with profound meaning:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Kazakhstan
    The national flag of the Republic of Kazakhstan has a gold sun with 32 rays above a soaring golden steppe eagle, both centered on a sky blue background; the hoist side displays a national ornamental pattern “koshkar-muiz” (the horns of the ram) in gold; the blue color is of religious significance to the Turkic peoples of the country, and so symbolizes cultural and ethnic unity; it also represents the endless sky as well as water; the sun, a source of life and energy, exemplifies wealth and plenitude; the sun’s rays are shaped like grain, which is the basis of abundance and prosperity; the eagle has appeared on the flags of Kazakh tribes for centuries and represents freedom, power, and the flight to the future. The width of the flag to its length is 1:2.[1]
    [edit] Interpretation

    The pattern represents the art and cultural traditions of the old khanate and the Kazakh people. The light blue background stands for the various Turkic peoples that make up the present-day population of the country, including the Kazakhs, Tatars, Mongols, Uyghurs, Uzbeks and others. Among these people blue has a religious significance, representing the sky god Tengri, “the eternal wide blue sky”, and water as well.[2] The light blue color also symbolizes cultural and ethnic unity of Kazakhstani people.

    The sun represents the source of life and energy. It is also a symbol of wealth and abundance; the sun’s rays are like grain which is the basis of abundance and prosperity.

    People of different Kazakh tribes had the golden eagle on their flags for centuries. The eagle symbolizes the power of the state. For the modern nation of Kazakhstan the eagle is a symbol of independence, freedom and flight to future

  2. 2

    I like what Herman said about our state flag. It has a deep meaning and even the colours appearing on it are meaningful. I am glad there are foreigners, who know about it!


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