Thursday, October 19, 2017

AFTERWARDS

When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, 
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves
like wings, 
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the
neighbours say, 
"He was a man who used to notice such things"?

If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's
soundless blink, 
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades
to alight 
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer
may think, 
"To him this must have been a familiar sight." 

If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm, 
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn, 
One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm, 
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone." 

If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door, 
Watching the full-starred heavens that
winter sees, 
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
"He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"? 

And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom, 
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings, 
Till they rise again, as they were a new
bell's boom, 
"He hears it not now, but used to notice
such things"?

JUST TREES
A new series which will be known by the full title of the blog
JUST TREES BUT LOVELY TO LOOK AT
begins on Saturday 21st October and will include extra features.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I FOUND HER OUT THERE

I found her out there
On a slope few see,
That falls westwardly
To the sharp-edged air,
Where the ocean breaks
On the purple strand,
And the hurricane shakes
The solid land.

I brought her here,
And have laid her to rest
In a noiseless nest
No sea beats near.
She will never be stirred
In her loamy cell
By the waves long heard
And loved so well.

So she does not sleep
By those haunted heights
The Atlantic smites
And the blind gales sweep,
Whence she often would gaze
At Dundagel's far head,
While the dipping blaze
Dyed her face fire-red;

And would sigh at the tale
Of sunk Lyonnesse,
While a wind-tugged tress
Flapped her cheek like a flail;
Or listen at whiles
With a thought-bound brow
To the murmuring miles
She is far from now.

Yet her shade, maybe,
Will glide underground
Till it catch the sound
Of that western sea
As it swells and sobs
Where she once domiciled,
And joy in its throbs
With the heart of a child. 
154
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

LOGS ON THE HEARTH
A Memory of a Sister

The fire advances along the log
      Of the tree we felled,
Which bloomed and bore striped apples by the peck
   Till its last hour of bearing knelled.

   The fork that first my hand would reach
      And then my foot
In climbings upward inch by inch, lies now
   Sawn, sapless, darkening with soot.

   Where the bark chars is where, one year,
      It was pruned, and bled -
Then overgrew the wound.  But now, at last,
   Its growings all have stagnated.

   My fellow-climber rises dim
      From her chilly grave -
Just as she was, her foot near mine on the bending limb,
   Laughing, her young brown hand awave.
153
-o0o-

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

THE GOING

 Why did you give no hint that night
That quickly after the morrow's dawn,
And calmly, as if indifferent quite,
You would close your term here, up and be gone
Where I could not follow
With wing of swallow
To gain one glimpse of you ever anon!

Never to bid good-bye,
Or lip me the softest call,
Or utter a wish for a word, while I
Saw morning harden upon the wall,
Unmoved, unknowing
That your great going
Had place that moment, and altered all.

Why do you make me leave the house
And think for a breath it is you I see
At the end of the alley of bending boughs
Where so often at dusk you used to be;
Till in darkening dankness
The yawning blankness
Of the perspective sickens me!

You were she who abode
By those red-veined rocks far West,
You were the swan-necked one who rode
Along the beetling Beeny Crest,
And, reining nigh me,
Would muse and eye me,
While Life unrolled us its very best.

Why, then, latterly did we not speak,
Did we not think of those days long dead,
And ere your vanishing strive to seek
That time's renewal?  We might have said,
"In this bright spring weather
We'll visit together
Those places that once we visited."

Well, well!  All's past amend,
Unchangeable.  It must go.
I seem but a dead man held on end
To sink down soon. . . . O you could not know
That such swift fleeing
No soul foreseeing -
Not even I - would undo me so!
 152
Next Post here - THURSDAY

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

AT RUSHY-POND

On the frigid face of the heath-hemmed pond 
There shaped the half-grown moon: 
Winged whiffs from the north with a husky croon 
Blew over and beyond. 

And the wind flapped the moon in its float on the pool, 
And stretched it to oval form; 
Then corkscrewed it like a wriggling worm; 
Then wanned it weariful. 

And I cared not for conning the sky above 
Where hung the substant thing, 
For my thought was earthward sojourning 
On the scene I had vision of. 

Since there it was once, in a secret year, 
I had called a woman to me 
From across this water, ardently - 
And practised to keep her near; 

Till the last weak love-words had been said, 
And ended was her time, 
And blurred the bloomage of her prime, 
And white the earlier red. 

And the troubled orb in the pond's sad shine 
Was her very wraith, as scanned 
When she withdrew thence, mirrored, and 
Her days dropped out of mine.
151
NEXT POST - TUESDAY

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

THE FROZEN GREENHOUSE

"There was a frost
Last night!" she said,
"And the stove was forgot
When we went to bed,
And the greenhouse plants
Are frozen dead!"

By the breakfast blaze
Blank-faced spoke she,
Her scared young look
Seeming to be
The very symbol
Of tragedy.

The frost is fiercer
Than then to-day,
As I pass the place
Of her once dismay,
But the greenhouse stands
Warm, tight, and gay,

While she who grieved
At the sad lot
Of her pretty plants -
Cold, iced, forgot -
Herself is colder,
And knows it not.
150
THE POETRY OF THOMAS HARDY
will be updated on
TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

THE INTERLOPER

"And I saw the figure and visage of Madness seeking for a home."

There are three folk driving in a quaint old chaise,
And the cliff-side track looks green and fair;
I view them talking in quiet glee
As they drop down towards the puffins' lair
By the roughest of ways;
But another with the three rides on, I see,
Whom I like not to be there!

No: it's not anybody you think of. Next
A dwelling appears by a slow sweet stream
Where two sit happy and half in the dark:
They read, helped out by a frail-wick'd gleam,
Some rhythmic text;
But one sits with them whom they don't mark,
One I'm wishing could not be there.

No: not whom you knew and name. And now
I discern gay diners in a mansion-place,
And the guests dropping wit - pert, prim, or choice,
And the hostess's tender and laughing face,
And the host's bland brow;
I cannot help hearing a hollow voice,
And I'd fain not hear it there.

No: it's not from the stranger you met once. Ah,
Yet a goodlier scene than that succeeds;
People on a lawn - quite a crowd of them. Yes,
And they chatter and ramble as fancy leads;
And they say, "Hurrah!"
To a blithe speech made; save one, mirthless,
Who ought not to be there.

Nay: it's not the pale Form your imagings raise,
That waits on us all at a destined time,
It is not the Fourth Figure the Furnace showed,
O that it were such a shape sublime;
In these latter days!
It is that under which best lives corrode;
Would, would it could not be there!
149
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NEXT POST TUESDAY