Drummer Hodge Poem by Thomas Hardy

Drummer Hodge

Rating: 3.5

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,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.

Yet portion of that unknown plain
Will Hodge for ever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow to some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellations reign
His stars eternally.

Chris Mcduling 05 July 2009

If you have ever spent time in the Karoo, then you will understand the emphasis that Thomas Hardy has put on the impact that the wasted young blood has, even on senseless war. There are very few trees in the Karoo, and when you do find them they are important to all the ecosystems around them, they are noticed and often remembered by all who pass there.

41 30 Reply
Mike Allen 12 March 2012

I love the 'strange-eyed constellations.'. I'm not that great a fan of Hardy's poetry, but this seems a fitting way to describe the desolation and separation of dying on a foreign field, and yet the beneficence of even these unfamiliar stars. Got to be better than Rupert Brooke, surely? You can see how this type of poetry trickles down through Edward Thomas and Philip Larkin. A very English sort of poetry, and no bad thing for that.

39 30 Reply
Simon Wallington 31 July 2007

me too. was the cats pyjamas. great movie aswell

32 27 Reply
Ebola Spreader 04 November 2014

I want to give you ebola

16 38 Reply
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.

27 9 Reply
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.

0 0 Reply
samuel 14 November 2018

it was just what i liked to hear

1 0 Reply
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

3 1 Reply
Alisha Castle 23 March 2016

So heartthrobing...........................................

10 10 Reply
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.

12 11 Reply
Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Dorchester / England
Error Success