A poem by Thomas Hardy:
This is probably my favorite poem about finding small moments to hold onto. James Kavanaugh’s “There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves” is a close second, though. In Hardy’s poem, I love the idea that the author doesn’t learn anything from the bird, in the sense that the bird provides no explanations or narrative to contextualize the author’s melancholic mood. His block-ice lugubriousness is lifted but only briefly, and simply; Hardy remains unaware of the source of the bird’s joy and of how to attain it himself, except to enjoy the bird’s enjoyment and capture the moment. Don’t over-intellectualize the bird, is I guess the lesson here.
Here’s what Carol Rumen at The Guardian had to write about it:
Hardy’s thrush of course belongs to the Romantic tradition, in which birds seem to express emotion in “songs” that have human significance. Modern readers interpret bird-song differently: we know the “ecstatic carolings” to be territorially possessive; as mundane as estate agents’ ‘Sold’ signs. Today’s ornithologically-minded poets content themselves with more descriptive responses, though birds have never yet gone out of poetic fashion.
I don’t quite know what that paragraph means but it sounds like maybe she’s over-intellectualizing the bird.