Saturday, January 8, 2011

Classic Poetry - (The Darkling Thrush - Thomas Hardy)

Selected by Fyodor Lewis

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

Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 - 11 January 1928)

This poem was suggested by Fyodor Lewis the author and poet responsible for the blog Bright Light - Dark Words

After having read this poem what are your thoughts? Is it to dark for you?  If you have any thoughts on this poem or would like to share any other Thomas Hardy poems please feel free to share them with us in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing what you have to say or share. 

Poets United posts a classic poem once weekly. We want to do this to introduce classic poets and their poems to our members. It is also a way to display different styles, genres and approaches to poetry. Our intent is to further expand the world of poetry while educating ourselves.

If you have a classic poem or set of prose you are fond of please let us know by emailing it to us at


  1. Just love this particular poem have read it many many times hope others are moved by it too, great great choice. Still as chilling and moving as it was when written.

  2. Wonderful suggestion - I love the sound and lyrical quality of this classic piece of Hardy...thank you for sharing here at Poets United....bkm

  3. A wonderful choice - and there are some stunning poems on Fyodor's site as well - one about war that is simply stunning. Thanks for this pick:) Good one!

  4. I think this poem shows Hardy the poet in all of his brilliance. nature always plays a promininent role in all of hiw writing, and this is no exception. I don't find it dark, in the end. The bird sings regardless...nothing stops his joy. (saying "his" because the male bird more commonly sings). It's one of my nfavorite poems by one of my favorite writers. Excellent choice!


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