The Darkling Thrush (2009 YE Report 1/15/10) 

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 graying 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 goodnight air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware. 

Thomas Hardy