Depressing descriptions of birds
If you're reading a poem with a lot of bird imagery that could be interpreted as a symbol for death, you've probably got your hands on a Hardy poem. One of his other well-known poems, "The Darkling Thrush," describes a bird that sings hopefully despite its gloomy surroundings. Hardy's poetry is often described briefly as dark, depressing, or morbidly obsessed with failure and disappointment. But we all like a little angst in our reading material to pull on the old heartstrings, don't we?