The Darkling Thrush

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 11th of December 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

In this edition we read and examine what is considered one of the greatest Winter poems, The Darkling Thrush, by Thomas Hardy. Hardy was a prolific poet, writing over 1000 poems, but did not publish his first collection until nearly sixty years of age. This after his last novel, Jude The Obscure, received bad reviews, and he decided to concentrate solely on poetry.

If you have difficulty accessing the recording, a text version of the poem is provided after the sound bar.

To hear this week’s Poetic Beats please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar below.


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


an absolute gem from Hardy. first time I am reading it. thank you for introducing it Davy.

Liked by 1 person

Lovely stuff Davy, Auden’s comment struck a chord, Frost was another who wasn’t shy in courting controversy. As we’ve alluded to before, in contrast to our own Poet’s circle.
I’ve also said it before but your regional accent is such a joy to listen to compared to ‘generic media voice No1’, it adds interest and a certain cache.

Liked by 1 person

    Thank you Nigel your comments are greatly appreciated. I sometimes think the accent is too Northern, but although I practice the reading I try to stay as human as possible. I think it is like writing, you have to be genuine.


You make a splendid job of publicising Hardy the realist, Davy, and give succour to those in the aged community, like myself, who look for inspiration, which Hardy and your commentary and appraisal of his poem certainly provide.

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Wonderful poem by Hardy and so beautifully read by you. I too like the Northern accent, it feels at home.
The last stanza is heartbreakingly beautiful.
Thank you Davy


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    Thank you Miriam for the kind comments and continued support and glad you enjoyed the poem. It is funny as I have lived in the South of England since 1983 and when I go back to Cumbria I am accused of being a posh cockney 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

I enjoyed your reading of the Thomas Hardy poem & also hearing some facts about his life. Interesting that he first published poetry at 60!

Liked by 1 person

I love Hardy! His word-pics and the emotions he stirs is always wonderful!
I greatly enjoyed your reading of his poem, Davy! And for sharing his life with us. 🙂
Nature does bring us hope. 🙂
HUGS!!! 🙂
PS…We’re supposed to get rain and snow this weekend. 🙂

Liked by 1 person

    Thank you Carolyn and I appreciate your kind words and support. I too love his poetry, it always brings a vivid picture to mind and is great to read aloud. Hope the weather this weekend wasn’t too bad. We have had the snow and now the rain 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Beautifully read and a lovely poem. Thank you, Davy.

Liked by 1 person

Such a wonderful poem Davy and, being from America, I am mesmerized by your accent.

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