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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Chapter Fifty-Four, in which a Feature of Poetry debuts

Your Bibliothecary travels far and wide, and memory does not serve him well. He recalls somewhere a poem to begin each month, but knows not where or to whom to give credit for this chapter.

And so in remembrance of that blog and blogger, and in appreciation of verse, we offer a poem as a sort of ritual, another necessary act of devotion.

Thomas Hardy was a brilliant novelist whose Wessex novels are full of a strong sense of setting, a multitude of carefully and fully drawn characters, and moving moods of melancholy. If you have not done so, we urge our two readers to pick up Tess of the D'Urbervilles, or The Trumpet-Major, or Far From the Madding Crowd, or Jude the Obscure and lose yourself in an amazing story.

His fiction, however, was not well-received. Hardy did not take criticism easily, and finally he gave up the novel form completely, and turned to poetry. Many critics today argue that he is a better poet than novelist. Here is a sample of his voluminous output.

The Letter's Triumph

(A Fancy)

Yes: I perceive it's to your Love
You are bent on sending me. That this is so
Your words and phrases prove!

And now I am folded, and start to go,
Where you, my writer, have no leave to come:
My entry none will know!

And I shall catch her eye, and dumb
She'll keep, should my unnoised arrival be
Hoped for, or troublesome.

My face she'll notice readily:
And, whether she care to meet you, or care not,
She will perforce meet me;

Take me to closet or garden-plot
And, blushing or pouting, bend her eyes quite near,
Moved much, or never a jot.

And while you wait in hope and fear,
Far from her cheeks and lips, snug I shall stay
In close communion there,

And hear her heart-beats, things she may say,
As near her naked fingers, sleeve, or glove
I lie--ha-ha!--all day.

1 comment:

  1. Nice poem. I did not know Hardy wrote poetry. But then he is one of the voids in my literary education. I must do something about that sometime.