Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Though a lot of where I live is green and thriving, there are many places that are not. My walk to school brings me through a particularly blighted area, an area where the only green one might see is from the weeds pushing up through cracks or perhaps a sickly tree that put forth a few leaves. Gray and black is the dominant color scheme.

The soundscape is dominated by car horns and the roar of 18-wheelers.

Sometimes, however, I am surprised to hear a few cheerful notes from the sparrows who seem to be the only birds (aside from pigeons) hardy enough to manage this environment. The sight and sound of one one of these little fellows perched on a chain link fence either calling to a mate or marking territory does much to make the walk more bearable.

The Darkling Thrush

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 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

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