By the Earth's Corpse
"O Lord, why grievest Thou? -
Since Life has ceased to be
Upon this globe, now cold
As lunar land and sea,
And humankind, and fowl, and fur
Are gone eternally,
All is the same to Thee as ere
They knew mortality."
"O Time," replied the Lord,
"Thou read'st me ill, I ween;
Were all THE SAME, I should not grieve
At that late earthly scene,
Now blestly past--though planned by me
With interest close and keen! -
Nay, nay: things now are NOT the same
As they have earlier been.
On my eternal mind
Are all the wrongs endured
By Earth's poor patient kind,
Which my too oft unconscious hand
Let enter undesigned.
No god can cancel deeds foredone,
Or thy old coils unwind!
"As when, in Noe's days,
I whelmed the plains with sea,
So at this last, when flesh
And herb but fossils be,
And, all extinct, their piteous dust
That I made Earth, and life, and man,
It still repenteth me!"
Thomas Hardy's Other Poems
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