Thomas Hardy

(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

Drummer Hodge


They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined -- just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around:
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

Young Hodge the drummer never knew --
Fresh from his Wessex home --
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.

Yet portion of that unknown plain
Will Hodge for ever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow to some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellations reign
His stars eternally.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Mike Allen (3/12/2012 6:16:00 PM)

    I love the 'strange-eyed constellations.'. I'm not that great a fan of Hardy's poetry, but this seems a fitting way to describe the desolation and separation of dying on a foreign field, and yet the beneficence of even these unfamiliar stars. Got to be better than Rupert Brooke, surely? You can see how this type of poetry trickles down through Edward Thomas and Philip Larkin. A very English sort of poetry, and no bad thing for that. (Report) Reply

  • Chris Mcduling (7/5/2009 8:45:00 PM)

    If you have ever spent time in the Karoo, then you will understand the emphasis that Thomas Hardy has put on the impact that the wasted young blood has, even on senseless war.
    There are very few trees in the Karoo, and when you do find them they are important to all the ecosystems around them, they are noticed and often remembered by all who pass there. (Report) Reply

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