“The Darkling Thrush” 2013

“The Darkling Thrush” 2013

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It’s my New Year’s Eve custom to read and ruminate over Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Darkling Thrush,” and I did so just a few minutes ago.  Images of “spectre-grey” and “winter’s dregs” sprang to life, because those lines remind me of what I saw on my walk around the farm.

It was warmer today than it has been the past two years, and winter didn’t seem to sit so heavily on the landscape or me.  No ice, no frost, and no paralyzing cold.  Instead I met warm, slick, and muddy earth, and the trees, buildings, and even the sky were mousy. As Hardy eloquently put it: the landscape seemed “fervourless as I.”

And, in the mildness of the day I discovered apathy in my heart- as though my world wasn’t chilling and bitter enough to make me search for some hope.

I didn’t even listen for the darkling thrush.

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It’s late now and the indifferent day has passed; I feel a faint stirring, and finally I imagine the thrush’s “Happy good night-air” and sense “some blessed hope, whereof he knew, [but] I was unaware.”

A question buds and more follow – what will 2014 bring for you and me?  What will we offer?  Will we finally out grow making the same mistakes?

What song, what songs – will we sing?

Author’s Note:  Follows is Hardy’s “The Darkling Thrush” in full in case you are interested.

The Darkling Thrush

By Thomas Hardy

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.

 

8 thoughts on ““The Darkling Thrush” 2013

  1. Like the aged thrush, let us fling our soul upon the new year. I believe we all have within ourselves the power to make it exactly what we desire. Happy New Year my friend!

    1. Like the aged thrush, let us fling our soul upon the new year. I believe we all have within ourselves the power to make it exactly what we desire. Happy New Year my friend!

      Hello E–I hoped you might see this, and the last lines were definitely inspired by your last letter to me. More soon–flying your way. Thank you–Sher

  2. Hey Sher! a delight to read as always! Thanks! Your speaking of out growing mistakes caused me to reflect……for some years now????? when I have made mistakes, folks would put their arms around me and said, “You are young you’ll learn!” and I have, for the most part but now at 63, I worry that someone will finally say, “You are old enough to know better than that!!!!” I don’t want to grow up! I think I hear the Thrush????
    Happy New Year!
    Thanks again!!!

    1. Hey Sher! a delight to read as always! Thanks! Your speaking of out growing mistakes caused me to reflect……for some years now????? when I have made mistakes, folks would put their arms around me and said, “You are young you’ll learn!” and I have, for the most part but now at 63, I worry that someone will finally say, “You are old enough to know better than that!!!!” I don’t want to grow up! I think I hear the Thrush????
      Happy New Year!
      Thanks again!!!
      Roy– Happy New Year! So good to hear from you again. Your message makes me smile. Life is filled with so many layers. I hope you have a good year there in the south– p.s. we are thinking of getting a Pudelpointer next year! Stay tuned. Sher

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, Sher! It sounds vaguely familiar, but I think it’s been many, many years. The days ARE getting longer and I’ve got some bulbs of some kind pushing out of the ground on the lighter (not sunnier) side of the house!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Sher! It sounds vaguely familiar, but I think it’s been many, many years. The days ARE getting longer and I’ve got some bulbs of some kind pushing out of the ground on the lighter (not sunnier) side of the house!
      Hi Mary- Happy New Year! We don’t see bulbs pushing up until February. I bet you see these earlier since you are on the coast, well sort of a coast right. I hope it is a good year of writing for you. Sher

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