Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Thomas Hardy's poem from beyond the grave

The blogger Weaver of Grass posted a poem written and yet not written by R S Thomas. What she did was to take various lines from different R S Thomas poems and then assemble them to make a new poem. I thought I'd give it a try. About 20 minutes ago I turned to Thomas Hardy. Here then is the result. The poem is compiled from lines from different Hardy poems selected by 'feel'. The result surprised me.

Thomas Hardy's poem from beyond the grave

It is a storm-strid night, winds footing swift
the twinkling gleams of lamp's sad beams
a car comes up, with lamps full glare
the eternal question of what Life was
changed to a firmament-riding earthless essence
the substance now, one phantom figure
saying that now you are not as you were.

I seem but a dead man held on an end
we were irked by the scene, by our own selves; yes.

This is the weather the cuckoo likes
his crypt the cloudy canopy
a black cat comes,wide-eyed and thin
a longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore.

Church timbers crack and witches ride ...

(aided from the Beyond?)

*dumbledore here is a large bumble bee and definitely NOT a Harry Potter character.


  1. The Hardy one is equally interesting G. I think it is perhaps the essence of an exceptional writer's work which allows individual lines to be taken out of context and still make a whole poem.
    As to why you find the Thomas unsettling - I do too and in my case I think it is because it has such strong intimations of mortality and at my advancing age I find it best not to dwell on such things!

    Do hope you catch the Poetry Bus on Monday - I shall hang about at the Bus Stop waiting and watching!

    Are you going to do as Gordon suggests and try it with Rabbie?

  2. "now try Rabbie!

    "I fear it would be beyond me. I think one poet who could do justice to Rabbie is zenspeug's JM, that is unless 'you' too can do so Gordon!!!

  3. Pat, I agree and perhaps would add that it's also R S Thomas's closeness to God, which obviously waxed and waned, that unsettles me. That I almost dare not interfere is putting it too strongly. But it's that strange feeling you get in a church when you cast your casual sideways glance, to check the the money in the plate. Guilty but not guilty at the same time. I think I could maybe do the poem trick with his earlier poems - Prytherch on the skyline in his frayed cloth cap standing in the eye of the hawthorn tree, and his poems about God's failed experiments - the inbreeding and so on, but maybe not. No, definitely not with R S. But maybe Dylan Thomas? Yes, I could it with Dylan. Yes! Dylan, you're the next my boyo!!

  4. Yes, Hardy could be a good brooder when he wanted to be. Today I'll 'do' a Dylan Thomas poem "from beyond the grave"; DT's a bardic broodler and, by a strange coincidence, he was influenced by Hardy.


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