Thomas Hardy
Dorchester / England
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Drummer Hodge

Rating: 3.4
They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined -- just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around:
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

Young Hodge the drummer never knew --
Fresh from his Wessex home --
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
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L Anthony. 28 October 2019
I would be just as critical if " To kill a mocking bird" was played with any English accent, it is the " feel" of the piece that is disturbed, if not destroyed by 'wrong' voices or accents. I write poetry in Lancashire dialect in which the phrase " weers ti frae" (which phrase possibly Mr Shepherd would recognise!) in an American accent would sound absurd.
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samuel 14 November 2018
it was just what i liked to hear
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Jon cooper 05 January 2018
I’ve known this poem for 20 years or more and tomorrow I go to South Africa for the first time I think it may be that Thomas Hardy has something to do with this
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Alisha Castle 23 March 2016
So heartthrobing...........................................
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Peter Williams 11 February 2016
Yet portion of that unknown plain/Will Hodge forever be I was just struck by how wunderkind Rupert Brooke got (or ripped-off) his idiomatic is forever England from this poem.
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L Anthony 05 November 2015
This is about an English boy soldier, killed in a savage, senseless war and a lonely agonising death. To be read by a woman with an American accent completely destroys the ethos of the poem. Why? Racism? No, Hardy paints a picture of group of rough English squaddies (lower rank soldiers) battle weary and shocked by the sheer violence of the day. As a drummer, Hodge would be no more than 15 years old and this youthfulness would hit them hard; one of them talks about the dead boy, This is Hodge's eulogy; spoken by one of the rough men he drummed into battle, they are his companions, they feel the complete desolation and uselessness of the aftermath of battle, Just as Hodges just as they consider the 'useless' body shovelled under the sand, they express it, not some woman with a foreign accent that makes the poem all wrong.
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I understand your anger but you must not allow it to splash over into anti-Americanism we all have accents and only professional actors can alter them at will. It is a great poem in Hardy-style showing his depth of learning and poetic genius.
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L Anthony 04 November 2017
I wrote this comment over two years ago. As I said then, there was no racism. The voice and the accent were wrong to me then as they are now. It was read like a shopping list without cadence or skill. I wonder whether you would feel W.C. Bryant's Death of Lincoln meaningful of read in the same way with (say) an English accent (there is no such thing as a British accent!) . Hodge was not Hardy's best work, but the poem does capture the laconic sounding irony of the squaddy, weary and sick of war brought up never to show emotion let alone to shed a tear. Unfortunately the voice and accent used just did not cut the mustard.
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PShepherd 28 October 2019
I agree- needs an appropriate English accent (just like " The Sheepdog" by U.A. Fanthorpe, which has to have a Yorkshire accent or it loses so much of its appeal) . My American bookclub loves me to read that poem every Christmas, and no sense of racism- any more than I'd want to hear Billy Jo McAlister (sp?) sung in an English accent.
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PShepherdI 28 October 2019
I agree. I don't see anything racist in your comment. I read " The Sheepdog" (U.A. Fanthorpe) at the request of my mostly American bookclub (one English member- me- and one French) in my best Yorkshire accent (family from Yorkshire) . It would lose half of its appeal read in any other accent- as would e.g " Ode to Billie Joe" (sung by Bobby Gentry) if sung, for heaven's sake, in BBC English.
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Douglas Scotney 09 June 2015
First time I've seen 'west' used as a verb. I suppose the sun daily wests. There's nothing anti-war in the poem as it stands.
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Freda 27 December 2018
West in this case is short for the word wester which is a verb pertaining to the sun moon or stars and means moving towards the west.
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Juwon Daniel 09 June 2015
Though he reign his stay enternally seems not to end his life but a right choice to make him happy and safe. Kudos to thou
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Stephen Pennell 09 June 2015
heard this poem while watching the history boys play
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Rajesh Thankappan 29 March 2015
War is a senseless act of madness where people kill each other without any guilt or without any individual enmity. Here, I am reminded of my poem ' Victorious Defeat.' which any one of you may find it convenient to read.
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