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
"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?"