Thomas Hardy

A Poet

A_Broken_Appointment


Winter in Durnover Field


The Farm Woman's Winter


Tess's Lament



 A Poet

Attentive eyes, fantastic heed, Assessing minds, he does not need, Nor urgent writs to sup or dine, Nor pledges in the roseate wine. For loud acclaim he does not care By the august or rich or fair, Nor for smart pilgrims from afar, Curious on where his hauntings are. But soon or later, when you hear That he has doffed this wrinkled gear, Some evening, at the first star-ray, Come to his graveside, pause and say: 'Whatever his message his to tell Two thoughtful women loved him well.' Stand and say that amid the dim: It will be praise enough for him.

 A Broken Appointment

You did not come, And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb. Yet less for loss of your dear presence there Than that I thus found lacking in your make That high compassion which can overbear Reluctance for pure lovingkindness' sake Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum, You did not come.
You love not me, And love alone can lend you loyalty; -I know and knew it. But, unto the store Of human deeds divine in all but name, Was it not worth a little hour or more To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be You love not me.

 Winter in Durnover Field

Scene. - A wide stretch of fallow ground recently sown with wheat, and frozen to iron hardness. Three large birds walking about thereon, and wistfully eyeing the surface. Wind keen from north-east. Sky a dull grey.
(Triolet)

Rook.--Throughout the field I find no grain; The cruel frost encrusts the cornland! Starling.--Aye: patient pecking now is vain Throughout the field, I find . . . Rook.--No grain! Pigeon.--Nor will be, comrade, till it rain, Or genial thawings loose the lorn land Throughout the field. Rook.--I find no grain: The cruel frost encrusts the cornland!

 The Farm Woman's Winter

I
If seasons all were summers, And leaves would never fall, And hopping casement-comers Were foodless not at all, And fragile folk might be here That white winds bid depart; Then one I used to see here Would warm my wasted heart!
II
One frail, who, bravely tilling Long hours in gripping gusts, Was mastered by their chilling, And now his ploughshare rusts. So savage winter catches The breath of limber things, And what I love he snatches, And what I love not, brings.

 Tess's Lament

I
I would that folk forgot me quite, Forgot me quite! I would that I could shrink from sight, And no more see the sun. Would it were time to say farewell, To claim my nook, to need my knell, Time for them all to stand and tell Of my day's work as done.
II
Ah! dairy where I lived so long, I lived so long; Where I would rise up stanch and strong, And lie down hopefully. 'Twas there within the chimney-seat He watched me to the clock's slow beat - Loved me, and learnt to call me sweet, And whispered words to me.
III
And now he's gone; and now he's gone; . . . And now he's gone! The flowers we potted p'rhaps are thrown To rot upon the farm. And where we had our supper-fire May now grow nettle, dock, and briar, And all the place be mould and mire So cozy once and warm.
IV
And it was I who did it all, Who did it all; 'Twas I who made the blow to fall On him who thought no guile. Well, it is finished--past, and he Has left me to my misery, And I must take my Cross on me For wronging him awhile.
V
How gay we looked that day we wed, That day we wed! "May joy be with ye!" all o'm said A standing by the durn. I wonder what they say o's now, And if they know my lot; and how She feels who milks my favourite cow, And takes my place at churn!
VI
It wears me out to think of it, To think of it; I cannot bear my fate as writ, I'd have my life unbe; Would turn my memory to a blot, Make every relic of me rot, My doings be as they were not, And what they've brought to me!

Thomas Hardy
(1840-1928)


Alfred Tennyson - The miller's daughter


S.T. Coleridge - Kubla Khan


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 © Gaston D'Haese: 01-08-2013.
Update: 09-01-2016.