Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Poetry - Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy is the right poet for my mood this week. I've had one of those annoying colds that never really becomes a proper cold (necessitating a couple of cosy days in a warm room with a pot of tea, a cat or two & books). Just sniffles & a nose that runs for two days, stops for a day & a half & then starts again. Feeling melancholy & a bit sorry for myself, Hardy was the perfect companion in misery.
This is one of the poems Hardy wrote after the death of his first wife, Emma. They had been estranged for some time before her death, although still living in the same house. Her death released a flood of memories of their life together, especially the happy times when they first met. It was published in his collection, Satires of Circumstance.

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.


  1. I hope you are soon on the mend again. A good choice from Hardy's poetry. Gosh, but he beat himself up after Emma's death. Whilst her resting place wasn't back in Cornwall, it was at least a very peaceful spot at Stinsford, and a goodly stream flows close by.

    1. Thank you. There's nothing really wrong with me but Hardy suited my mood. Regret is such a powerful emotion, isn't it? Hardy certainly had many regrets about Emma.

  2. What a wonderful post. I love Hardy--both his poetry and his novels. He has a sort of bleak and solipsistic melodrama about him that tugs at my own sullen self.

    And yet I feel that there is not a more compellingly cheerful poem than "The Darkling Thrush". Few do alliteration as well as Hardy!

    1. Yes, he could be happy but it's the melancholy, tragic moments that I remember. Probably says more about me than him!

  3. I love this! I really need to read more of Hardy's poetry because I'm obviously missing out on some beautiful and lyrical writing. :)

    1. His poetry is beautiful. Every now & then I pick up one of his volumes & dip in & suddenly find I've been reading for ages.