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Thrush Poems

Table of Contents

  1. My Thrush by Mortimer Collins
  2. The Hermit Thrush by Augustus Wight Bomberger
  3. Hermit Thrush by Hilda Conkling
  4. "Blow Softly, Thrush" by Joseph Russell Taylor
  5. Hermit-Thrush Sextons by Amos Russel Wells
  6. The Brown Thrush by Lucy Larcom
  7. Overflow by John Banister Tabb
  8. The Throstle by Alfred Tennyson
  9. The Redwing by Bliss Carman
  10. The Hermit Thrush by John Burroughs
  11. Joy-Month by David Atwood Wasson
  12. The Music-Lesson by Mathilde Blind
  13. The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy
  14. The Thrush in February by George Meredith
  15. The Golden Crowned Thrush by Andrew Downing

  1. My Thrush

    by Mortimer Collins

    All through the sultry hours of June,
    From morning blithe to golden noon,
    And till the star of evening climbs
    The gray-blue East, a world too soon,
    There sings a Thrush amid the limes.

    God's poet, hid in foliage green,
    Sings endless songs, himself unseen;
    Right seldom come his silent times.
    Linger, ye summer hours serene!
    Sing on, dear Thrush, amid the limes!

    Nor from these confines wander out,
    Where the old gun, bucolic lout,
    Commits all day his murderous crimes:
    Though cherries ripe are sweet, no doubt,
    Sweeter thy song amid the limes.

    May I not dream God sends thee there,
    Thou mellow angel of the air,
    Even to rebuke my earthlier rhymes
    With music's soul, all praise and prayer?
    Is that thy lesson in the limes?

    Closer to God art thou than I:
    His minstrel thou, whose brown wings fly
    Through silent ether's summer climes.
    Ah, never may thy music die!
    Sing on, dear Thrush, amid the limes!

  2. The Hermit Thrush

    by Augustus Wight Bomberger

    Sweet singer, in the high and holy place
    Of this dim-lit cathedral of the hills;
    With reverent brow and unuplifted face,
    I quaff the cup thy melody distills!

    What sparkling well of limpid music springs
    Within thy breast, to quench my thirst like this!
    What nameless chords are hid beneath thy wings,
    That all my soul is lifted by thy bliss!

    Perchance the same mysterious desire
    Hath brought us both to this deep shrine as one;
    For now—it burns a single flame of fire,
    Dropped through the branches from the setting sun!

    And as thou singest, lo, the voice is mine,
    Each note, a thought; each thought, a silent prayer,
    Of joy, of peace—of ecstasy divine,
    Poured forth upon the fragrant woodland air!

    And I, who stand apart, am not alone,
    Here, in these great cathedral aisles untrod;
    O, Hermit, thou hast opened Heaven, unknown,
    And through thy song have I communed with God.

  3. Hermit Thrush

    by Hilda Conkling

    Something that cannot be said in words . . .
    Something sweet and unknown . . .
    The wind . . . the brook . . .
    Something that comes to a trembling fuller tone
    Like a waterfall . . .
    That little brown creature is singing
    A music of water, a music of worlds;
    He will fly away south,
    But his song stays in the heart
    Once it is heard.

  4. "Blow Softly, Thrush"

    by Joseph Russell Taylor

    Blow softly, thrush, upon the hush
    That makes the least leaf loud,
    Blow, wild of heart, remote, apart
    From all the vocal crowd,
    Apart, remote, a spirit note
    That dances meltingly afloat,

    Blow faintly, thrush!
    And build the green-hid waterfall
    I hated for its beauty, and all
    The unloved vernal rapture and flush,
    The old forgotten lonely time,
    Delicate thrush!
    Spring's at the prime, the world's in chime,
    And my love is listening nearly;
    O lightly blow the ancient woe,
    Flute of the wood, blow clearly!
    Blow, she is here, and the world all dear,
    Melting flute of the hush,
    Old sorrow estranged, enriched, sea-changed,
    Breathe it, veery thrush!

  5. Hermit-Thrush Sextons

    by Amos Russel Wells

    In the hushed and reverent woodland
    Where the twilight shadows dwell
    All the birds are going to meeting,
    And the hermit rings the bell.

    "Co-o-ome, come to church this evening,"
    So the little sexton sings;
    "Co-o-ome, come to prayer and praises,"
    Through the woods the summon rings.

    Then another hermit answers
    From a belfry green and high;
    "Co-o-ome, yes, we'll come and gladly,"
    Is the musical reply.

    Soon across the woodland spaces
    Other sextons ply their bells,
    Till the forest is a-quiver
    Deep in all its hidden dells.

    And the wistful mortal straying
    Underneath the brooding trees,
    Captured by the mood of worship,
    Sinks his soul on bended knees.

    Spoken words and ritual order?
    Stately spire and arched hall?
    Nay, the world is a cathedral
    When we hear the hermit's call.

  6. The Brown Thrush

    by Lucy Larcom

    There's a merry brown thrush sitting up in a tree;
    "He's singing to me! he's singing to me!"
    And what does he say, little girl, little boy?
    "Oh, the world's running over with joy!
    Don't You hear? Don't you see?
    Hush! look! In my tree
    I'm as happy as happy can be!"

    And the brown thrush keeps singing, "A nest do you see,
    And five eggs hid by me in the juniper tree?
    Don't meddle! don't touch! little girl, little boy,
    Or the world will lose some of its joy!
    Now I'm glad! now I'm free!
    And I always shall be,
    If you never bring sorrow to me."

    So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree,
    To you and to me, to you and to me;
    And he sings all the day, little girl, little boy,
    "Oh, the world's running over with joy!
    But long it won't be,
    Don't you know? Don't you see?
    Unless we're as good as can be."

  7. Overflow

    by John Banister Tabb

    With sudden gush
    As from a fountain, sings in yonder bush
    The Hermit Thrush.

    Did ever Lark
    With swifter scintillations fling the spark
    That fires the dark?

    Like April rain
    Of mist and sunshine mingled, moves the strain
    O'er hill and plain.

    As love, O Song,
    In flame or torrent sweep through Life along,
    O'er grief and wrong.

  8. The Throstle

    by Alfred Tennyson

    "Summer is coming, summer is coming,
    I know it, I know it, I know it.
    Light again, leaf again, life again, love again,"
    Yes, my wild little Poet.

    Sing the new year in under the blue.
    Last year you sang it as gladly.
    "New, new, new, new!" Is it then so new
    That you should carol so madly?

    "Love again, song again, nest again, young again,"
    Never a prophet so crazy!
    And hardly a daisy as yet, little friend,
    See, there is hardly a daisy.

    "Here again, here, here, here, happy year!"
    O warble unchidden, unbidden!
    Summer is coming, is coming, my dear,
    And all the winters are hidden.

  9. The Redwing

    by Bliss Carman. A redwing is a bird in the thrush family.

    I hear you, Brother, I hear you,
    Down in the alder swamp,
    Springing your woodland whistle
    To herald the April pomp!

    First of the moving vanguard,
    In front of the spring you come,
    Where flooded waters sparkle
    And streams in the twilight hum.

    You sound the note of the chorus
    By meadow and woodland pond,
    Till, one after one up-piping,
    A myriad throats respond.

    I see you, Brother, I see you,
    With scarlet under your wing,
    Flash through the ruddy maples,
    Leading the pageant of spring.

    Earth has put off her raiment
    Wintry and worn and old,
    For the robe of a fair young sibyl,
    Dancing in green and gold.

    I heed you, Brother. To-morrow
    I, too, in the great employ,
    Will shed my old coat of sorrow
    For a brand-new garment of joy.

  10. The Hermit Thrush

    by John Burroughs

    In the primal forest's hush,
    Listen!...the hermit thrush!
    Silver chords of purest sound
    Pealing through the depths profound,
    Tranquil rapture, unafraid
    In the fragrant morning shade.

    Pausing in the twilight dim,
    Hear him lift his evening hymn,
    Clear it rings from mountain crest,
    Pulsing out from speckled breast.
    Day is done, the moon doth soar,
    Still the hermit, o'er and o'er,
    In the deep'ning twilight long
    Holds and swells his cadenced song.

    Purest sounds are farthest heard,
    Voice of man or song of bird,
    And the hermit's silver horn
    In dreaming night or dewy morn
    Is a serene, ethereal psalm,
    Devoutly gay, divinely calm —
    The soul of song, the breath of prayer,
    In melody beyond compare,
    'T is borne afar on every breeze,
    Nor captive held by housing trees.
    Where louder voices faint and fail
    The hermit's purer tones prevail.

    O silver throat, O golden heart,
    What magic in thy artless art!
    In boyhood days I knew thee well
    And yielded to thy music's spell.
    Thy tawny wing, thy silent flight,
    Thy gesture soft when thou didst light,
    Thy graceful pose, thy gentle mien,
    Thy still reserve when thou wast seen.
    I knew the woods where thou didst bide,
    I knew the nest that was thy pride—
    An open secret on the ground
    By russet leaves encompassed round.

    I linger long where thou dost sing,
    To drink my fill of everything
    That waves above or blooms below,
    And all that sylvan spirits know—
    The hoary trunks, the whispering leaves,
    Pewee that pensive sighs and grieves,
    Clintonia with her modest bells,
    Columbine with honeyed cells,
    Violet pale and orchid rare,
    Fragrant brakes and maiden-hair,
    Mitchella with her floral twins,
    Crimson fruit that partridge wins,

    Oxalis with her girlish face,
    Squirrel corn with leafy grace,
    Herb Robert rank, with veinèd eye,
    And liver leaf "to match the sky"—
    These and others fair and sweet
    Bedeck the floor of thy retreat.

    Two other birds oft with thee fare
    And syllable the wilding air.
    The veery thrush blows in his flute
    When all but thou and he are mute—
    Reverb'rant note in leafy halls
    That echo to his fluty calls.
    And winter wren with thee abides,—
    A dapper bird that skulks and hides,
    Now court'sying on a mossy stone,
    Then ducking 'neath a tree-trunk prone;
    Pert his mien, his wondrous throat
    Quivers and throbs with rapid note—
    A lyric burst with power imbued
    To thrill and shake the solitude.

    But thou art master in these aisles,
    Our troubled hearts thy strain beguiles;
    Deep solemn joy thy soul knoweth well.
    Chant on, from heights where thou dost dwell,
    Thy hymn of faith, thy peace, thy prayer—
    A benediction on the air.

  11. Joy-Month

    by David Atwood Wasson

    Oh, hark to the brown thrush! hear how he sings!
    How he pours the dear pain of his gladness!
    What a gush! and from out what golden springs!
    What a rage of how sweet madness!

    And golden the buttercup blooms by the way,
    A song of the joyous ground;
    While the melody rained from yonder spray
    Is a blossom in fields of sound.

    How glisten the eyes of the happy leaves!
    How whispers each blade, "I am blest!"
    Rosy Heaven his lips to flowered earth gives,
    With the costliest bliss of his breast.

    Pour, pour of the wine of thy heart, O Nature!
    By cups of field and of sky,
    By the brimming soul of every creature!—
    Joy-mad, dear Mother, am I.

    Tongues, tongues for my joy, for my joy! more tongues!—
    Oh, thanks to the thrush on the tree,
    To the sky, and to all earth's blooms and songs!
    They utter the heart in me.

  12. The Music-Lesson

    by Mathilde Blind

    A thrush alit on a young-leaved spray,
    And, lightly clinging,
    It rocked in its singing
    As the rapturous notes rose loud and gay;
    And with liquid shakes,
    And trills and breaks,
    Rippled through blossoming boughs of May.

    Like a ball of fluff, with a warm brown throat
    And throbbing bosom,
    'Mid the apple-blossom,
    The new-fledged nestling sat learning by rote
    To echo the song
    So tender and strong,
    As it feebly put in its frail little note.

    O blissfullest lesson amid the green grove!
    The low wind crispeth
    The leaves, where lispeth
    The shy little bird with its parent above;
    Two voices that mingle
    And make but a single
    Hymn of rejoicing in praise of their love.

  13. The Darkling Thrush

    by Thomas Hardy

    I leant upon a coppice gate
    When Frost was spectre-grey,
    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.

  14. The Thrush in February

    by George Meredith

    I know him, February's thrush,
    And loud at eve he valentines
    On sprays that paw the naked bush
    Where soon will sprout the thorns and bines.

    Now ere the foreign singer thrills
    Our vale his plain-song pipe he pours,
    A herald of his million bills;
    And heed him not, the loss is yours.

    My study, flanked with ivied fir
    And budded beech with dry leaves curled,
    Perched over yew and juniper,
    He neighbors, piping to his world:

    The wooded pathways dank on brown,
    The branches on grey cloud a web,
    The long green roller of the down
    An image of the deluge-ebb:

    And farther, they may hear along
    The stream beneath the poplar row,
    By fits, like welling rocks, the song
    Spouts of a blushful Spring in flow.

    But most he loves to front the vale
    When waves of warm southwestern rains
    Have left our heavens clear in pale,
    With faintest beck of moist red veins:

    Vermilion wings, by distance held
    To pause aflight while fleeting swift:
    And high aloft the pearl inshelled
    Her lucid glow in glow will lift:

    A little south of colored sky;
    Directing, gravely amorous,
    The human of a tender eye
    Through pure celestial on us.

    Remote, not alien; still, not cold;
    Unraying yet, more pearl than star;
    She seems awhile the vale to hold
    In trance, and homelier makes the far.

    The Earth her sweet unscented breathes;
    An orb of lustre quits the height;
    And like broad iris-flags, in wreaths
    The sky takes darkness, long ere quite.

    His Island voice then shall you hear,
    Nor ever after separate
    From such a twilight of the year
    Advancing to the vernal gate.

    He sings me, out of winter's throat,
    The young time with the life ahead;
    And my young time his leaping note
    Recalls to spirit-mirth from dead.

    * * * * * * * *

    Full lasting is the song, though he,
    The singer, passes: lasting too,
    For souls not lent in usury,
    The rapture of the forward view.

    With that I bear my senses fraught
    Till what I am fast shoreward drives.
    They are the vessel of my Thought.
    The vessel splits, the Thought survives.

    Nought else are we when sailing brave
    Save husks to raise and bid it burn.
    Glimpse of its livingness will wave
    A light the senses can discern

    Across the river of the death
    Their close. Meanwhile, O twilight bird
    Of promise! bird of happy breath!
    I hear, I would the City heard.

  15. The Golden Crowned Thrush

    by Andrew Downing

    O, little bird from Mexico!
    I do not know your story,
    Except—a big book tells me so—
    That you are migratory.

    Of all the friends the seasons bring
    Your loyalty is surest;
    You go in autumn, come in spring—
    You're not a winter tourist.

    I may have seen a bonny bird
    Arrayed in finer feather;
    But when your mating-song I heard,
    It held me like a tether.

    Then trill for me your carol clear,
    O, blithe and welcome comer,
    For well I know how much you cheer
    An Arizona summer.

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