Poetry Corner

On a Midsummer Eve

By Thomas Hardy

I idly cut a parsley stalk

And blew therein towards the moon;

I had not thought what ghosts would walk

With shivering footsteps to my tune.

I went, and knelt, and scooped my hand

As it to drink, into the brook,

And a faint figure seemed to stand

Above me, with a bygone look.

I lipped rough rhymes by chance, not choice,

I thought not what my words might be;

There came into my ear a voice

That turned a tenderer verse for me.

God’s Grandeur

By Thomas Hardy

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

  And all is smeared with trade; bleared, smeared with

    toil;

  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the

    soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;

  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

  Oh morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs –

    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

  World broods with warm breast and with ah! Bright

    wings.

About the poet: Hardy’s life spanned the years from 1840 to 1927 and he is best know for the novels he wrote. Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Ubervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895) remain as classics of English literature. However, following the criticism he received for the grim realism of Tess and Jude and having become a wealthy through the sales of his novels, he returned to his life-long love of poetry and spent the remainder of his creative life to composing verse.

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