Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Darkling Thrush a poem by Thomas Hardy

Snow, upon snow.. amid the bleak mid winter carol has been going through my head lately, no prizes for guessing why. People are getting tired of all this snow, out in the countryside according to Farming Today radio this morning, the task of feeding outlying animals, and getting food into the villages is a hard job. Oil is at a premium, let alone getting the tankers to the farm, or to BBs house stuck up high on a hill. People lie around airport terminals waiting for their planes to take off, travel comes to a standstill as road and railway lines freeze up over night.
We are safe, near to shops, our heating mended after one week of no heating, and there is always an open fire in the sitting room. Doubt if my family will make it down, and I don't want them to venture out onto dangerous roads, Xmas can always be postponed to the following week.
Not sure its chaos, the English do so love a drama, and snow is fulfilling that role superbly, perhaps what we need is an extended holiday period, so that people can fly abroad over a longer time, and the festival days can be spread.
My thoughts have been with the birds, out in the cold every night, the doves look miserable, but the starlings still come to the table happily as do the little fighting sparrows.
Anyway it reminded me of my favourite author and poet - Thomas Hardy and his poem to that little old thrush who sang on a cold and miserable evening such as we are experiencing now........

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 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 unlimited;
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


  1. One of my favourite poems too (I LOVE Hardy's work). Oh about to "test the hill" after a night's frost. Mind you, it gives us all something to moan about, and us English love nothing more than a good moan, a good queue and a good cup of tea!

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    I loved your piece about Moulsham Mill in Chelmsford. I did leave you a comment.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

    Happy Christmas

  3. Hi Jarmara, found your comment on Moulsham Mill and thank you ;).
    I see you like Whitby, where my family live, though its difficult to get there at the moment because of the snow on the moor road.
    one thing I will do if we stay there for a time is look up its history in the library.
    Happy Christmas to you and your family as well.

  4. Do be careful on that hill BB, a broken something is not too wise when you can't get to hospital because of the lane!
    Merry Christmas from both of us to your family, and you do have EXACTLY the right house to celebrate Christmas...even though it might be a tad cold ;) xxx

  5. Hi Thelma, Oh I love Whitby. My family roots goes back 200 years there. The place is full of history. I'm hoping to write a book about Whitby and my family links to the place.

    Best wishes,


  6. I enjoyed both your words and Thomas Hardy's when I stopped by yesterday, but I see I didn't leave a comment to let you know.
    I so enjoy the glimpses of life in the UK which my blogging friends share.
    While I'm sympathizing about the difficulties of too much snow and stalled traffic, should I remember that there may be a sense of drama involved? [re BB's comment!]


Love having comments!