Posts Tagged ‘The Darkling Thrush’

shocks and stings

February 15, 2017

zzwhitney

An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

Thomas Hardy, The Darkling Thrush

Icy winds blast frigid cold
In this everywhere of snow
Little bird you are so strong
Light up the evening with a song
Is there no place you can go
To warm your fragile feathered soul?
How can you radiate delight
On this coldest winter’s night?
The greatest courage is to sing
In the face of shocks and stings

by Richard W. Bray

Flinging our Souls

December 24, 2014

aaaaaaathrush

I’m goofy for words. And I will happily read and read and read until I find a combination of words which “strikes like a chime through the mind.” Then I will read some more.

Thomas Hardy forges a concoction of meaning, sound, and feeling when he tells us that a singing little bird

Had chosen thus to fling his soul

Of course, every line of “The Darkling Thrush” is a work of art.

Poetry and language are the same thing. Perhaps the people we call poets live the music inside the words with greater intensity than the rest of us do, but all words are music.

Consider the first line of a poem by Emily Dickinson:

From Us She wandered now a Year,

There are a thousand less lovely ways to tell us that a woman has abandoned her family. And the beauty of the sound and rhythm of this line is assaulted by the sadness it conveys.

Here’s the entire poem:

From Us She wandered now a Year,
Her tarrying, unknown,
If Wilderness prevent her feet
Or that Ethereal Zone

No eye hath seen and lived
We ignorant must be—
We only know what time of Year
We took the Mystery.

There are so many things we are not told: Who is this woman? Whom did she abandon? Where? Why? The reader is left to fill in the blanks.

Robert Pinsky proffers a handy metaphor: Novelists wade through words while poets skate on their surface.

by Richard W. Bray