Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thomas Hardy


Thomas Hardy . New Year's Eve

Hardy's "New Year's Eve" was first published in his 1909 collection, Time's Laughingstocks. This is the only introduction the poem needs, though it is worth remembering that for all Hardy's bleakness and "Wessex fatalism" his fiddles are in the Dorset County Museum:

    "I have finished another year," said God,
    "In grey, green, white, and brown;
    I have strewn the leaf upon the sod,
    Sealed up the worm within the clod,
    And let the last sun down."

    "And what's the good of it?" I said.
    "What reasons made you call
    From formless void this earth we tread,
    When nine-and-ninety can be read
    Why nought should be at all?

    "Yea, Sire; why shaped you us, 'who in
    This tabernacle groan' -
    If ever a joy be found herein,
    Such joy no man had wished to win
    If he had never known!"

    Then he: "My labours -- logicless --
    You may explain; not I:
    Sense-sealed I have wrought, without a guess
    That I evolved a Consciousness
    To ask for reasons why.

    "Strange that ephemeral creatures who
    By my own ordering are,
    Should see the shortness of my view,
    Use ethic tests I never knew,
    Or made provision for!"

    He sank to raptness as of yore,
    And opening New Year's Day
    Wove it by rote as theretofore,
    And went on working evermore
    In his unweeting way.


1 comment:

lina warren said...

I admire Hardy's impertinence when addressing God's oblivion. A strange God indeed, without rhyme or reason. Who, with a modicum of consciousness, wouldn't question His "labours", as "logicless" as they are?