Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Poetry - Thomas Hardy

As I've just finished listening to the audio book of Cakes and Ale by W Somerset Maugham which features a character based on Thomas Hardy, I felt I needed a typically melancholic Hardy poem today. I also wanted a poem about rain. I don't find rain melancholy & we had some lovely rain in Melbourne on Friday that filled up my rain water tanks & gave the garden a thorough drink. This is not to be sniffed at in the middle of an Australian summer. This poem, Rain on a Grave, is very Hardy.

Clouds spout upon her
    Their waters amain
    In ruthless disdain, –
Her who but lately
    Had shivered with pain
As at touch of dishonour
If there had lit on her
So coldly, so straightly
    Such arrows of rain:

One who to shelter
    Her delicate head
Would quicken and quicken
    Each tentative tread
If drops chanced to pelt her
    That summertime spills
    In dust-paven rills
When thunder-clouds thicken
    And birds close their bills.

Would that I lay there
    And she were housed here!
Or better, together
Were folded away there
Exposed to one weather
We both, – who would stray there
When sunny the day there,
    Or evening was clear
    At the prime of the year.

Soon will be growing
    Green blades from her mound,
And daisies be showing
    Like stars on the ground,
Till she form part of them –
Ay – the sweet heart of them,
Loved beyond measure
With a child’s pleasure
    All her life’s round.


  1. So poignant. Yes, very Hardy, he could do this without tipping over into sentimentality. He is one of my favourite poets, but I wasn't familiar with this one.

    1. I love his melancholy even though it drives some people mad. I didn't know this one either so it was a happy discovery.