Thomas Hardy

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

A Wasted Illness - Poem by Thomas Hardy

Through vaults of pain,
Enribbed and wrought with groins of ghastliness,
I passed, and garish spectres moved my brain
   To dire distress.

   And hammerings,
And quakes, and shoots, and stifling hotness, blent
With webby waxing things and waning things
   As on I went.

   "Where lies the end
To this foul way?" I asked with weakening breath.
Thereon ahead I saw a door extend -
   The door to death.

   It loomed more clear:
"At last!" I cried. "The all-delivering door!"
And then, I knew not how, it grew less near
   Than theretofore.

   And back slid I
Along the galleries by which I came,
And tediously the day returned, and sky,
   And life--the same.

   And all was well:
Old circumstance resumed its former show,
And on my head the dews of comfort fell
   As ere my woe.

   I roam anew,
Scarce conscious of my late distress . . . And yet
Those backward steps through pain I cannot view
   Without regret.

   For that dire train
Of waxing shapes and waning, passed before,
And those grim aisles, must be traversed again
   To reach that door.


Comments about A Wasted Illness by Thomas Hardy

  • Jeanie  Leyba (7/3/2016 5:20:00 PM)


    Beautiful! Very emotional and creative (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • (7/3/2016 10:08:00 AM)


    It is a painful experience to face so much pain and felt it. (Report) Reply

  • (7/3/2016 6:54:00 AM)


    Confrontation with death visualized, while suffering, in this meaningful, beautifully crafted and thought provoking poem. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/3/2016 12:58:00 AM)


    Where lies the end? Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (3/11/2005 8:08:00 AM)


    I have read and examined quite throughly Hardy's novel 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and I find this poem very much apt to certain parts of the book. I strongly commend - both the novel and the poem - to be read searchingly. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: pain, sky, death



Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003



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