Thrushes, Ted Hughes*

 Terrifying are the attent sleek thrushes on the lawn,

More coiled steel than living – a poised

Dark deadly eye, those delicate legs

Triggered to stirrings beyond sense – with a start, a bounce, a stab

Overtake the instant and drag out some writhing thing. 

No indolent procrastinations and no yawning states,

No sighs or head-scratchings.

Nothing but bounce and stab

And a ravening second.

Is it their single-mind-sized skulls, or a trained

Body, or genius, or a nestful of brats

Gives their days this bullet and automatic

Purpose? Mozart’s brain had it, and the shark’s mouth

That hungers down the blood-smell even to a leak of its own

Side and devouring of itself: efficiency which

Strikes too streamlined for any doubt to pluck at it

Or obstruction deflect.

With a man it is otherwise.

Heroisms on horseback,

Outstripping his desk-diary at a broad desk,

Carving at a tiny ivory ornament

For years: his act worships itself – while for him,

Though he bends to be blent in the prayer, how loud and above what

Furious spaces of fire do the distracting devils

Orgy and hosannah, under what wilderness

Of black silent waters weep.

Ted Hughes


Had to post this one – after looking it up – prompted by the birds in our garden earlier; certainly a non-traditional way to view thrushes eh?


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