The Robin

by Thomas Hardy
When up aloft I fly and fly,
I see in pools the shining sky,
And a happy bird am I, am I!
When I descend toward the brink,
I stand and look and stop and drink,
And bathe my wings, and chink, and prink.
When winter frost makes earth as steel,
I search and search but find no meal,
And most unhappy then I feel.
But when it lasts, And snows still fall,
I get to feel no grief at all,
For I turn to a cold, stiff feathery ball!


When I came across this sad little poem it reminded me of just how cold it has been lately. Everything is frozen solid and decorated with pointy stalactite icicles. It snowed the other night, and the below freezing temperatures made the snow flakes sparkle like glitter.

Thomas Hardy was a Victorian era novelist and poet. Though the poor subject of this poem meets an unfortunate end, many of his poems display a love of the natural world. All of his life he held a firm stance against cruelty to animals.

When Hardy died there was a controversy as to where his remains should be interred. His family wanted him to be buried with his wife, but his executor insisted he be buried at the famous Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey. A compromise was reached when it was decided that his ashes would rest at Poets’ Corner and his heart would be buried with his wife. It was rumored that a cat got into the tin containing the heart and ate a portion of it before they had a chance to put it safely in the ground.

I tried to portray the little robin as passing away while trying to get a final drink at the frozen bird bath, with his spirit departing, happy now, glowing in warm light.