Thomas Hardy

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

The Tree: An Old Man's Story


I

Its roots are bristling in the air
Like some mad Earth-god's spiny hair;
The loud south-wester's swell and yell
Smote it at midnight, and it fell.
   Thus ends the tree
   Where Some One sat with me.

II

Its boughs, which none but darers trod,
A child may step on from the sod,
And twigs that earliest met the dawn
Are lit the last upon the lawn.
   Cart off the tree
   Beneath whose trunk sat we!

III

Yes, there we sat: she cooed content,
And bats ringed round, and daylight went;
The gnarl, our seat, is wrenched and sunk,
Prone that queer pocket in the trunk
   Where lay the key
   To her pale mystery.

IV

"Years back, within this pocket-hole
I found, my Love, a hurried scrawl
Meant not for me," at length said I;
"I glanced thereat, and let it lie:
   The words were three -
   'Beloved, I agree.'

V

"Who placed it here; to what request
It gave assent, I never guessed.
Some prayer of some hot heart, no doubt,
To some coy maiden hereabout,
   Just as, maybe,
   With you, Sweet Heart, and me."

VI

She waited, till with quickened breath
She spoke, as one who banisheth
Reserves that lovecraft heeds so well,
To ease some mighty wish to tell:
   "'Twas I," said she,
   "Who wrote thus clinchingly.

VII

"My lover's wife--aye, wife!--knew nought
Of what we felt, and bore, and thought . . .
He'd said: 'I wed with thee or die:
She stands between, 'tis true. But why?
   Do thou agree,
   And--she shalt cease to be.'

VIII

"How I held back, how love supreme
Involved me madly in his scheme
Why should I say? . . . I wrote assent
(You found it hid) to his intent . . .
   She--DIED . . . But he
   Came not to wed with me.

IX

"O shrink not, Love!--Had these eyes seen
But once thine own, such had not been!
But we were strangers . . . Thus the plot
Cleared passion's path.--Why came he not
   To wed with me? . . .
   He wived the gibbet-tree."

X

- Under that oak of heretofore
Sat Sweetheart mine with me no more:
By many a Fiord, and Strom, and Fleuve
Have I since wandered . . . Soon, for love,
   Distraught went she -
   'Twas said for love of me.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Form:


Read poems about / on: tree, passion, child, hair, love, wedding, children

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Tree: An Old Man's Story by Thomas Hardy )

There is no comment submitted by members..

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. If, Rudyard Kipling
  4. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  5. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  6. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  8. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  10. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
[Hata Bildir]