Thomas Hardy

2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England

A Wife In London (December, 1899)

I--The Tragedy

She sits in the tawny vapour
   That the City lanes have uprolled,
   Behind whose webby fold on fold
Like a waning taper
   The street-lamp glimmers cold.

A messenger's knock cracks smartly,
   Flashed news is in her hand
   Of meaning it dazes to understand
Though shaped so shortly:
   He--has fallen--in the far South Land . . .

II--The Irony

'Tis the morrow; the fog hangs thicker,
   The postman nears and goes:
   A letter is brought whose lines disclose
By the firelight flicker
   His hand, whom the worm now knows:

Fresh--firm--penned in highest feather -
   Page-full of his hoped return,
   And of home-planned jaunts by brake and burn
In the summer weather,
   And of new love that they would learn.
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