100 Day Project – Days 1 and 2

DAY 1 (May 11, 2017

Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy

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.

My Commentary

Summer is upon me,
It seems both fleeting and eternal,
like summers past when with a joyous heart,
glimmering eyes, and certain thoughts,
I knew so deeply that this purse of long days
would never run out …
And then winter was fast upon me.

DAY 2 (May 12, 2017)

Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore

Talisman

Under a splintered mast,
torn from ship and cast
near her hull,

a stumbling shepherd found
embedded in the ground,
a sea-gull

of lapis lazuli,
a scarab of the sea,
with wings spread—

curling its coral feet,
parting its beak to greet
men long dead.

My Commentary

I press my temples with my thumbs
and feel my bony skull.
It doesn’t feel like me …
It feels like my skull.

And the skulls of men long dead
haphazardly tossed in a pile
like a pock-marked pyramid–
neither are they men.

But what then am I without this skull?
Perhaps just a wisp of tumultuous,
evanescent time.

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