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The Darkling Thrush
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy

Sound Check

Read this poem aloud. What do you hear?

This poem sounds a little like that dude that sits in the corner of a bar at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning moaning to himself. Either that, or he's the odd guy on the street corner reminding you that the world's about to end. Tomorrow.

Those are precisely the people that no one listens to…. In fact, "The Darkling Thrush" almost sounds like an internal monologue that we're not supposed to hear. Sure, our speaker invests in some alliteration early on in the poem (think about those hard k sounds that we talked about in "Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay"). But really, our speaker's not trying to impress anyone with fancy metrics or a nifty rhythm. His encounter with the thrush is a private one. His hope, if he actually has any, comes from his ability to replay that vision in his mind, over and over. Maybe that's why the images in this poem are so precise: they're supposed to stick in his own head. Oh, yeah. And in ours.

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