Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Hardy’


Infantry waiting to attack during World War I

(Photo credit: National Library of Scotland)

     The Man He Killed

   “Had he and I but met
   By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
   Right many a nipperkin! 

   “But ranged as infantry,
   And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
   And killed him in his place. 

   “I shot him dead because –
   Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
   That’s clear enough; although 

   “He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,
   Off-hand like – just as I –
Was out of work – had sold his traps –
   No other reason why. 

   “Yes; quaint and curious war is!
   You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat, if met where any bar is,
   Or help to half-a-crown.”

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              The Subalterns

‘Poor wanderer’, said the leaden sky,
   ‘I fain would lighten thee,
But there are laws in force on high
   Which say it must not be.’ 

– ‘I would not freeze thee, shorn one,’ cried
   The North, ‘knew I but how
To warm my breath, to slack my stride;
   But I am ruled as thou.’ 

– ‘To-morrow I attack thee, wight,’
   Said Sickness.  ‘Yet I swear
I bear thy little ark no spite,
   But  am bid enter there.’ 

– ‘Come hither, Son,’ I heard Death say;
   ‘I did not will a grave
Should end thy pilgrimage to-day,
   But I, too, am a slave!’ 

We smiled upon each other then,
   And life to me had less
Of that fell look it wore ere when
   They owned their passiveness.

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"Thomas Hardy," oil on panel, by the...

Thomas Hardy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Self Unseeing

Here is the ancient floor,
Footworn and hollowed and thin,
Here was the former door
Where the dead feet walked in.

She sat here in her chair,
Smiling into the fire;
He who played stood there,
Bowing it higher and higher.

Childlike, I danced in a dream;
Blessings emblazoned that day;
Everything glowed with a gleam;
Yet we were looking away!


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