Sunday, 31 January 2010

Thomas Hardy: The Dead Drummer

The Dead Drummer

They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined - just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around;
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

Young Hodge the Drummer never knew -
Fresh from his Wessex home -
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.

Yet portion of that unknown plain
Will Hodge for ever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow to some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellations reign
His stars eternally.

Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928)


  1. That is a Hardy poem I didnot know, Poet - and I love it. I suppose it is along the lines of "some corner of a foreign field that is forever England" yet somehow it says so much more. I never think of Hardy as a poet.

    At present I am reading Basil Bunting. What do you think to him?

  2. Whoops - did Rupert Brooks get his original idea from this? Interesting.

    I am more familiar with the novels, love "The Trumpet Major" which also incorporates the them of dying on a foreign battlefield.

  3. John,
    Weaver, I confess I haven't read much Bunting. Not easy to get him here.
    Sparker, We had to read Trumpet Major and do a synopsis at school. I only vaguely remember it.

    Dylan Thomas took inspiration from Hardy whose poems are mainly about himself. Don't know if Rupert Brook did so.


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