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The icy winds of winter have been blowing, and we’ve had snow on the ground for a few weeks now. Like Hardy, we have also had our share of grey days and early evenings. I have waited for the Darkling Thrush (or at least a robin) to lift my spirits with a song but, so far, all I hear is the clank of the radiators and the incessant barking of the neighbor’s hound.

The calendar’s just turned February, though, so I can’t rightly expect warm weather for some time. I’ll have to bide the time with some good books. I’ve just finished The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie, which I very much enjoyed.  Next up is The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos. Perhaps we should start a book review column in the Allegheny West Gazette. But that’s a job for someone else.  Please send any submissions to

There’s a lot happening on North Avenue these days. The Allegheny West Development Corporation recently acquired one of the Denny Row houses near Allegheny Avenue. AWDC intends to sell the property to a buyer who will agree to use it as an owner-occupied, single-family dwelling. In traffic news, the city has launched the “North Avenue Signals and Safety Project.” The goal is to reduce traffic accidents by revising the signal timings, adding pedestrian signals, and maintaining or improving turning lanes. The project also aims to improve bus “pullouts” to make boarding and alighting easier and safer. If you’re interested in what’s going on, you can visit the DOMI webpage at

That’s all I have for this month.  Take care and keep warm.  The days *are* getting longer.

Bob Griewahn
AWCC president

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
     When Frost was spectre-grey,
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 growing 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 good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
     And I was unaware.


This poem, apparently, was originally called The Century’s End, 1900 and was published on December 29, 1900 in The Graphic, a weekly illustrated newspaper. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the illustration for the poem (if an illustration even existed).