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In Time of 'The Breaking Of Nations' -- Thomas Hardy

Guest poem submitted by P. G. Murthy:
(Poem #429) In Time of 'The Breaking Of Nations'
 Only a man harrowing clods
         In a slow silent walk
 With an old horse that stumbles and nods
         Half asleep as they stalk.

 Only thin smoke without flame
         From the heaps of couch-grass;
 Yet this will go onward the same
         Though Dynasties pass.

 Yonder a maid and her wight
         Come whispering by:
 War's annals will cloud into night
         Ere their story die.
-- Thomas Hardy
This is a great poem; it stills the heart and makes one pause and think of the
lone farmer standing by his plough watching the years and the centuries go past
with all their futility. How often we see at level crossings when the train
speeds by the farmer and his animals waiting patiently: "He sees with unseeing

Hardy saw such a scene in Cornwall in 1870 and for forty years this lay dormant
till 1915 when this sentiment surfaced to take the shape of these three lovely
verses. I can only quote : "In this poem Hardy comments on the permanence of
such simple things as work and love. Man must cultivate the earth so that he can
eat, and he will continue to fall in love. Not even the madness of war can
change these basic certainties ... a great truth, [stated] simply and

"Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war : for with thee will I break in
pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms."
        -- Jeremiah 51:20

P. G. Murthy.


I'm off on vacation (and away from email) for 2 weeks, starting as soon as I
send this message; however, Martin will cover for me while I'm gone.


28 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Reed C Bowman said...

For the same message brilliantly expressed in another medium, see the
movie _The Seven Samurai_ by Akira Kurosawa.
- Reed C Bowman

Anonymous said...

the fact that this poem highlights is a fact that remains embedded in entire human race:- the fact that what is future will be past one day and what is past was future once. what is metaphysical about this poem is its underpinning:- that human efforts decide the quality of life one dwells in this universe, these efforts could be vice or virtue. it is upto us to decide.

Post by:
-aditi bhola

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i agree with the claim made by Hardy

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