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Thomas Hardy

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

The Sleep-Worker


When wilt thou wake, O Mother, wake and see -
As one who, held in trance, has laboured long
By vacant rote and prepossession strong -
The coils that thou hast wrought unwittingly;

Wherein have place, unrealized by thee,
Fair growths, foul cankers, right enmeshed with wrong,
Strange orchestras of victim-shriek and song,
And curious blends of ache and ecstasy? -

Should that morn come, and show thy opened eyes
All that Life's palpitating tissues feel,
How wilt thou bear thyself in thy surprise? -

Wilt thou destroy, in one wild shock of shame,
Thy whole high heaving firmamental frame,
Or patiently adjust, amend, and heal?

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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