The Buckley School's founder believed that all public speakers should hone their presentation skills by reading poetry out loud. We keep that worthwhile practice alive by including a poem in our magazine each month for you to read aloud.
"'The Darkling Thrush' opens with endings: the end of the year, the end of the day, even the end of the century….But every ending is also a beginning of some sort."– Dr. Oliver Tearle
We find that most speakers can benefit from a little work on their enunciation. To experience the glorious benefits of crisp diction and hear why it's worth the effort, we direct you to Senate Chaplain Barry Black (a Buckley School alum, btw).
This month, we're revisiting Thomas Hardy for lines that read aloud like a bit of a tongue twister. His poem also happens to capture the mood of a winter month at the start of a new decade.
A few bits and pieces about "The Darkling Thrush" that we found interesting as we did a little research:
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.
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