Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)
I towered far, and lo! I stood within
The presence of the Lord Most High,
Sent thither by the sons of earth, to win
Some answer to their cry.
--"The Earth, say'st thou? The Human race?
By Me created? Sad its lot?
Nay: I have no remembrance of such place:
Such world I fashioned not." -
--"O Lord, forgive me when I say
Thou spak'st the word, and mad'st it all." -
"The Earth of men--let me bethink me . . . Yea!
I dimly do recall
"Some tiny sphere I built long back
(Mid millions of such shapes of mine)
So named . . . It perished, surely--not a wrack
Remaining, or a sign?
"It lost my interest from the first,
My aims therefor succeeding ill;
Haply it died of doing as it durst?" -
"Lord, it existeth still." -
"Dark, then, its life! For not a cry
Of aught it bears do I now hear;
Of its own act the threads were snapt whereby
Its plaints had reached mine ear.
"It used to ask for gifts of good,
Till came its severance self-entailed,
When sudden silence on that side ensued,
And has till now prevailed.
"All other orbs have kept in touch;
Their voicings reach me speedily:
Thy people took upon them overmuch
In sundering them from me!
"And it is strange--though sad enough -
Earth's race should think that one whose call
Frames, daily, shining spheres of flawless stuff
Must heed their tainted ball! . . .
"But say'st thou 'tis by pangs distraught,
And strife, and silent suffering? -
Deep grieved am I that injury should be wrought
Even on so poor a thing!
"Thou should'st have learnt that Not to Mend
For Me could mean but Not to Know:
Hence, Messengers! and straightway put an end
To what men undergo." . . .
Homing at dawn, I thought to see
One of the Messengers standing by.
- Oh, childish thought! . . . Yet oft it comes to me
When trouble hovers nigh.
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