The words and phrases of Dover Beach and The Darkling Thrush clearly show the “gloom” and darkness in each poem. Sadness is often found in poetry, as poets use words and phrases to express their most profound feelings. These two poems are no exception, and the intentions of the writers are obvious. They are telling mankind’s perception of existence, and the darkness that is often within this perception.
The poem Dover Beach is about the ebbs and flows of the sea, and how it comes and goes regardless of any circumstance. The sea will always have its routine of high and low tide, and as a person stands next to it, it is easy to be mesmerized by the mere thought of the eternity of the sea’s existence. Every single day, no matter what occurs, the continuation is definite and continuous. The pebbles will forever be washed away and then thrown back onto the shores, and the sound will always be the same. One is able to stand and simply listen, and realize that for as long as Earth has existed, these waves have come and gone, time and time again. Often intense thoughts and revelations come and go with those waves, such as the thoughts of the misery of mankind. The poet is also expressing his beliefs that the world has no answer to the problems its inhabitants face, such as pain and confusion. The world may seem new to the present-day people, but like the sea, it has been continuing for so many years, regardless of what occurs in the “world” of mankind. Every human can be consumed by an illness, and the world will go on as it has forever. The sea will continue to ebb and flow, and the sun will rise and set. The earth has no suggestion for the everyday problems of man, so until man finds his own answers, the earth is merely an everlasting place of habitation, with no answers and no solutions. This obviously expresses a sense of hopelessness and “gloom” as the poet shows his melancholy view of earth and existence.
The Darkling Thrush is a poem written at the end of the 19th century, and tells how the world appeared gray and lifeless until a thrush appeared in the faded light to sing his song of joy and life. The words in this poem also claim darkness and sadness, especially when the poet talks of the desolate darkness of winter and the spectre-gray frost. This immediately brings to mind thoughts of absolute gloom and sadness. The Century was about to end, and the years were “leaning out of their coffin.” The clouds played the part of a crypt, as the wind sang a song of mournful lament. Every living thing on earth seemed filled with hopelessness and sorrow, until the voice of the thrush rose into a song of joy and happiness. The thrush was old, frail, and wind-blown, yet he chose to “fling his soul upon the growing gloom.” The poet expresses the thought that there is no reason for joy and happiness, and the thrush obviously possesses a “Hope” that no one else possesses in their lives of darkness and gloom. The poet does not understand why all of mankind is hidden away inside their homes, next to their fires, while a lone bird flies through the cloudy sky singing a song of joy. He is perplexed that such a creature would have a reason to sing this song, while the superior races sit in silent darkness. What does this bird have, that mankind cannot seem to obtain? Obviously it is the love of existence, the love of life. The thrush knew the world was dark and desolate, and he realized the coldness and misery of winter. Yet he overcame these thoughts and realizations, and made the best he could of his time. And why not? Why should a person not live to their fullest every single day, regardless of clouds and rain, wind and snow? Those things are simply a part of life, and they are not to be endured. Instead, they are to be experienced.
The two poems show the strange feelings of gloom and desperation that often take the place of