Thrush in a winter hedge

A revised version of last night’s rubaiyat for the dverse prompt. This one is in strict iambic pentametre rather than my usual rambling tetrametre. The second stanza inverts the stress for variety.


The frost that lingers furs the hedge where bird sings

At raindrops, snowflakes, all that winter cold brings;

His song, his soul fills our dark days with sunlight,

His heart too full too hear how distant bell rings.


Cold cracks the stone that gleams in moon-pale light,

Stills placid water with ice, silver bright;

The thrush is silent as mice in the hedge,

Hopes in the spring and bitter winter’s flight.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

21 thoughts on “Thrush in a winter hedge”

  1. I did not know that “fur” could be a verb — fun!
    Loved the imagery.
    Questions that this unskilled reader has pop up:
    The first stanza:
    – “a” bird?
    – and he sings “at” the raindrops etc.
    the rest perfect for me.
    The second stanza:
    — is the thrush the bird in the first stanza? but now silences by cold but not in the first? I guess your title tells us it is the same bird
    — the last line I did not understand.
    Overall really enjoyed.
    the thrush hopes? we hope? we hope in the spring and that bitter winter takes flight? Maybe that is it. Maybe I answered my own question.

  2. I’m glad you like it. To answer your questions. I left ‘bird’ without an article because otherwise it doesn’t scan. He sings ‘at’ in the same way we shout at something. The thrush is the same as ‘bird’ and the second stanza is night time ‘moon-pale light’, (not specially clear, I know) so he wouldn’t be singing. Yes, grammatically the ‘hopes’ refers back to the thrush. But we can certainly all hope in the spring 🙂

    1. Thanx Jane!
      For me, the lack of “scan” (what, that means syllable count?) is less breaking than break of grammar suddenly.
      AHhhh, the night time, got it ! Thanks for the explanations.

      1. Funny. Actually, two of the languages I have spoken (Japanese and Chinese) don’t use plurals at all, so you’d think it would slip right by, but that stubborn English module still chirps loudly. That old bird of mine! I need Platonic Bird Essence to sing. lol

  3. Rhyme and meter are my bane. One reason I enjoyed your past prompts was that they acted as introduction and lesson. I think you brought this one around nicely, Jane.

    1. Thanks Ken. I tend to listen to the way the rhythm flows rather than counting the beats and the stresses. Not very scientific, but this version, I think is closer to strict iambic pentametre than the first one.

  4. This revision was equally as enjoyable to read as the first Jane. I don’t have a particular preference as one being better. I do like the flow reading the first, even flew through the enjambments no stumble. So maybe I favor the first. I love your use of fur as a verb, and it works wonderfully! Very cool thst you posted post of these. I posted my two – the secong bring sort of a rewrite, in that it is a light filled version of love, contrasted eith the love lost darkness darkness of the first. I followed Frost’s 8-syllable line format on both.

    1. I enjoy Sabio’s comments and questions. He doesn’t have qualms about saying if something isn’t clear. I agree with him that a lot of modern poetry relies too much on clever clever stuff like funny line breaks or unclear sentence structure for impact. The impact is often bemusement, but don’t ever admit you don’t understand.

  5. I do like this revision.. I think the pentameter makes it better and I do like the way you used and applied it.

    What I also like is the contrast between the two quatrains with the first one being a brief glimpse of sun in winter and the second winter hits back.

  6. I’m sorry I’m two weeks late reading and commenting. This one has a beautiful tone, clear as glass, Jane, as is the image you’ve painted. I think I know the bird that sings at raindrops and snowflakes; he was in our garden this morning! The lines that stand out for me are:
    ‘Cold cracks the stone that gleams in moon-pale light,
    Stills placid water with ice, silver bright’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s