Friday, January 16, 2009

In Tenebris I

Wintertime nighs:
But my bereavement-pain
It cannot bring again:
Twice no one dies.

These lines open In Tenebris I, a poem that seems appropriate for this chill winter day. Hardy's meditation on death and bereavement seems well situated for the poet whose life seems bereft of everything that makes it worthwhile. Gone are flowers, friends, and even love; leaving only death and doubt. He ends it:

Black is night's cope;
But death will not appal
One who, past doubtings all,
Waits in unhope.

For those of us who have hope - the sun, even on the coldest days, seems to provide the source.

In Tenebris I from The Complete Poems of Thomas Hardy. Collier Books, New York. 1982 (1976).


candyschultz said...

I don't know much about Hardy's life but his works ooze sadness. Jude the Obscure was almost too much to take but it is as if he lived in a miasma of depression. I can only take him once in awhile and when I am in a good mood. I have never read his poems - didn't know he wrote any. Now I am curious.

James said...

I agree with your assessment of Jude the Obscure. The critical reaction was similar and as a result, happily for us, Hardy turned exclusively to poetry following the poor reception of Jude.
He had written poetry early in his life, but they did not sell so he turned to novel writing. Not all of his poems are so sad - but I chose this one for our coldest day of the year.
The Complete Poems comprise more than 900 poems or about a thousand pages.