Read by Gill Fraser Lee. Each Saturday morning on 106.9 SFM’s breakfast show, Jason McCrossan presents Tranquil Time – where we hear a poem on the radio. Tune into www.sfmradio.com at 07:50 every Saturday morning.
The Darkling Thrush is a poem originally titled By the Century’s Deathbed, 1900, it was published on 29 December 1900 in The Graphic. A deleted ‘1899’ on the poem’s manuscript suggests that it may have been written the year before. It was later included in a collection entitled Poems of the Past and the Present (1903).
The first stanzas open with a description of the dreary, bleak winter landscape, but the melancholy tone is transformed by the bright, optimistic singing of “an aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small.” In the end, the speaker concludes that the small bird possesses “some blessed Hope, whereof he knew and I was unaware.”