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Thomas Hardy

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

God-Forgotten


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.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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