The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate,
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to me
The Century's corpse outleant,
Its crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind its death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervorless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead,
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited.
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,
With blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew,
And I was unaware.

by Thomas Hardy

Comments (17)

A fantastic positive message to bring forth into the new century. Definitely one of my favourite ever poets.
There is hope of which unlike the poet the bird is aware of, but this awareness of hope drawn from the awareness of the bird can be a source of hope even for the poet!
Definitely not a lover of nature
so beautifully crafted for us to read
Well known critics have rated this poem as one of the best short poems in the English language. I think they are right. It is very well crafted and has a poignant message.
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