Monday, December 17, 2012


Something I found written by a friend reminded me of this old favorite poem. Since I already typed it out once this evening I thought I'd post it here just in case you might like it too. It seems appropriate.

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-grey,
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 be
      The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless 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,
      In 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.

~ Thomas Hardy


Life As I Know It Now said...

you know I like poetry and birds too so this hit the sweet spot indeed, thanks! :)

marja-leena said...

Wonderful poem and wonderful photo, thank you Susan. I hope you are enjoying the preparations for the holiday season.

jams o donnell said...

A delightful photo and a wonderful poem. They go so well together

Ol'Buzzard said...

Thank you.
the Ol'Buzzard

susan said...

I'm glad.

susan said...

I'm happy you agree they were just the right thing.

susan said...

I always loved Thomas Hardy.

susan said...

You're most welcome.

Rob-bear said...

Love your Thrush picture. And those bright berries (Mountain Ash, I think).

While some of us do despair, some of us know there is more. That's when we need to help one another.

Randal Graves said...

Thumbs up all around.

Anonymous said...

What Randal said.....

I especially love the photo, big fan of birds myself and spend many hours watching the bird feeders attached to my Maple tree. Especially in the winter. Thanks!


susan said...

All of a sudden I'm unable to reply to individual comments on this post so I'll do it the old fashioned way.

Rob-bear: Helping one another is always a good thing to do.

Randal: Yes.

Nunly: We have to go to the park to see birds but I love them too.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan - The Darkling Thrush is a lovely poem by Hardy who was a romanticist, very much in the tradition of Wordsworth and Dickens. But he was also concerned over a declining rural society.I think you can sense this is his poetry.
The lovely story you obtained and adapted about the limping puppy comes to life with your beautiful illustrations.
best wishes

susan said...

Hi Lindsay - I've been a fan of Thomas Hardy for many years. His Tess of the d'Urbervilles remains one of my favorite novels.

I'm happy to know you liked the illustrations.

Best wishes to you too and Happy Christmas.

Rob-bear said...

P.S.: Just wondering, susan — where does Crow like to spend the winter, particularly around Christmas?

Merry Christmas; blessings and Bear hugs.

linda said...

as i write this, i am planning to copy it just in case....sigh, blogger and it's woes. this is lovely, so perfect for me this night. i hope your days are filled with joy, peace and lightness in your step. here we have another storm whipping in from the south. rain rain, i am so tired of rain. i am turning into a prune!


gfid said...

one of my daughter's favorite picture books when she was about 6 had this poem in it:

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

the robin may be be cheeky, but he hasn't the thrush's courage, "to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom."

it makes my heart ache to see the tiny birds in the bitter cold. i have to wonder how they manage to keep their poor, fragile little selves from freezing.

i love Tess too, and the whole romance genre of the time.... but i still clench my teeth at the helplessness and fatalism of women in them.

susan said...

His habit in recent years has been to visit the condors for a swing around the Andes before returning home on Christmas Eve. He says it's the best time of year for fruitcake and brandy.

All good wishes to you and your family.

susan said...

Thankfully your comment came through just fine. I'm glad to know you've been well enough to visit and that you like the post. So far it looks more like a Portland winter around here, grey skies and frequent rain, rather than the snow we've seen the previous two winters. Given a choice I prefer walking in snow on a sunny sparkly day but it's good to know the sun is still there even if it can't be viewed directly. We're fine and I hope you are too.

susan said...

I remember that poem now that you've mentioned it. I feel the same when I see little birds out in cold weather but it seems they've got their reasons for staying rather than leaving. I like to take them nuts and seed when we go for our park walks (not allowed to have balcony feeders) but I'd never kid myself they depend on us for sustenance. I'm just thankful they're around.

Yes, women have come a long way in the respect and equality department but there's still a long way to go. If everybody believed in reincarnation then maybe, just maybe, we'd all treat each other and the planet better all the time.

Gina Duarte said...

Lovely. Like you.

Unknown said...

Every now and then I come by to see you old friend. Such a treat to find this wondrous poem. I hope you are well and warm.

Unknown said...

It's me, Rene, not unknown.

susan said...

and you too, my friend.

susan said...

I'm very glad to know you've been by to see it. Hoping you are well, I would love to hear from you directly. It's been too long.

susan said...

I guessed :-)

Francis Hunt said...

Beautiful ... both the poem and the photo. Thank you, Susan. And Happy Christmas.