Poetry Season

Local Navigation

Local Navigation

Afterwards by Thomas Hardy

When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves
like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the
neighbours say,
"He was a man who used to notice such things"?

If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's
soundless blink,
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades
to alight
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer
may think,
"To him this must have been a familiar sight."

If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,
One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone."

If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door,
Watching the full-starred heavens that
winter sees,
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
"He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"?

And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom,
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings,
Till they rise again, as they were a new
bell's boom,
"He hears it not now, but used to notice
such things"?

Related Video

An actor playing Thomas Hardy

Poet insight

What inspired Hardy's love poetry?

More poems by Thomas Hardy

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.