[Vision2020] Less Hopeful Fiber?
Tbertruss at aol.com
Tbertruss at aol.com
Sun Oct 16 22:58:22 PDT 2005
Melynda et. al.
Yes, I understand your interpretation. Perhaps your view fits the facts of
the poem more accurately than what I suggested. Nonetheless, when Hardy wrote:
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.
He appears to be recognizing or experiencing the possibility, or some form of
the reality, as he hears the birds singing, of positive states of being
including "a full-hearted evensong, Of joy illimited," of "ecstatic sound" and a
"blessed Hope," that perhaps the thrush embodies in a manner that makes his
despair more intense, as you suggest, if we assume he is alienated from what
positive states of being he describes regarding the thrush, or perhaps the
identification with the "ecstatic sound" and these other emotions and states of being
the thrush embodies inspires Hardy to contemplate that his lack of awareness
of these states of being does not mean they are not possible, even in the bleak
"dead" winter landscape. Indeed, we could read that Hardy is experiencing
some of these more positive states of being as he may identify with the birds
song and what he imagines it embodies. And the contrast between the positive
states he associates with the birds song, to the gloom and deathly winter
landscape could cut two ways: more despair, perhaps, but also a realization that
inspiration is possible even in desolation, or that Nature can find joy in the
most desolate conditions.
Perhaps my view that Hardy may identify with the birds song in a manner that
allows Hardy to himself feel what he imagines the birds song represents is way
off the mark.
But a total depressive pessimist writing this poem might dismiss the thrush's
actions as vain, pointless, random, perhaps the mindless utterings of a
"robot-like" bird that knows nothing of these positive states of being that Hardy
appears to indicate the thrush may know something about: indeed, Hardy declares
the thrush's song to be "his happy good-night air."
I find it hard to reject the interpretation that Hardy found some solace and
inspiration in the birds song, despite his ending comment that he was not
aware of what "blessed hope" the bird may have expressed. But then I am just
winging it here, because I know little about Hardy or what interpretation of this
poem fits the orientation of his creative work.
There are too many "positive" words in the poem for me to view it from a
wholly pessimistic interpretation.
I am no doubt projecting my love for bird song: Love is blind, as we all
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