Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I heard? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
Thomas Hardy, Collected Poems, Macmillan, 1976
A haunting poem, written after the death of Hardy's first wife, Emma, from whom he was estranged. After his death Hardy wrote many poems, recreating their early love. Of these poems, Lytton Strachey wrote:
They are, in fact, modern as no other poems are. The author of Jude the Obscure speaks in them, but with concentration, the intensity, the subtle disturbing force of poetry....He fumbles; but it is that very fumbling that brings him so near to ourselves.Don't forget to check out the Tuesday Poem blog for the featured Tuesday poem and, from there, navigate to other poems.