The Darkling Thrush, by Thomas Hardy

•January 22, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Thomas Hardy

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.


Here is an audio discussion and reading of the poem by poet Tracy K. Smith.

More poetry

Maggie Rudy’s Mouseland

•January 9, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Maggie Rudy makes highly detailed and adorable miniature tableaux to illustrate her books. Here are a few of her photo illustrations. Click and zoom for a closer look.

City Mouse, Country Mouse

I Wish I had a Pet

The House That Mouse Built


Here is a video about how she makes them.

There are more of Rudy’s endlessly delightful illustrations on her Mousehouses Blog.

Thanks to Nag on the Lake for showing these to me.

Sidney Poitier, 1927-2022

•January 7, 2022 • 3 Comments

The great Sidney Poitier, who was a towering figure in my childhood, has died.

Poitier was the Jackie Robinson of American film, a Black pioneer in a nearly all-white industry. This song is a fitting message of gratitude for what he taught white viewers about the gaping holes in our story of America, and about the beauty and danger of living Black in the United States.

The Poitier role that has loomed largest in my viewing life is A Patch of Blue. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions, 1943

•January 2, 2022 • 1 Comment

These are good advice for anyone.

The Monkees: Ríu Ríu Chíu

•December 24, 2021 • Leave a Comment

The Monkees singing a lovely acappella rendition of the old Spanish Christmas song Ríu Ríu Chíu.

Johnny Nash: I Can See Clearly Now

•December 22, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Happy Solstice, fellow northerners.

I hope you have a bright, sunshiny day.

Dave Frishberg: You Are There

•December 1, 2021 • 1 Comment

Here’s one of Dave Frishberg‘s most beautiful lyrics, with music by Johnny Mandel.

There will be a musical tribute to Dave Frishberg at The 1905 in Portland, live and live-streamed on December 9th.

Ismo Flying Through Time

•November 4, 2021 • Leave a Comment

I just went to Finland for a few days and lost almost a whole day, so I know how Ismo feels.

Stromae: Santé

•October 23, 2021 • Leave a Comment

After a long break, the great Stromae has a new music video, and I love it. It’s a celebration for those who do the hard work.

Subtitles available in settings.

Fun fact about the video, according to a language buff in the youtube comments:

The posters are a barely noticeable little detail that adds beautifully to the narrative… The texts are written in Cyrillic and… it’s a transliteration of Latin words that look like… Lorem Ipsum, which is just a placeholder text for web pages that are still work in progress. In reality, Lorem Ipsum is derived from Cicero’s passage (which is actually used here in its original form) on misconceptions of pleasures and pain, and how under certain circumstances people take on roles that bring only pain and toil, but nonetheless try to seek joy even in such conditions.

Shark Pool

•October 15, 2021 • Leave a Comment

This spoof movie trailer, posted on YouTube ten years ago, seems to have taken on a whole new metaphorical meaning.

Found on Miss Cellania.

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