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The Dynasts -- Thomas Hardy

Guest poem submitted by Frank O'Shea, an excerpt
from:
(Poem #1749) The Dynasts
 Yea, the coneys are scared by the thud of hoofs,
 And their white scuts flash at their vanishing heels,
 And swallows abandon the hamlet-roofs.

 The mole's tunnelled chambers are crushed by wheels,
 The lark's eggs scattered, their owners fled;
 And the hedgehog's household the sapper unseals.

 The snail draws in at the terrible tread,
 But in vain; he is crushed by the felloe-rim
 The worm asks what can be overhead,

 And wriggles deep from a scene so grim,
 And guesses him safe; for he does not know
 What a foul red flood will be soaking him!

 Beaten about by the heel and toe
 Are butterflies, sick of the day's long rheum,
 To die of a worse than the weather-foe.

 Trodden and bruised to a miry tomb
 Are ears that have greened but will never be gold,
 And flowers in the bud that will never bloom.
-- Thomas Hardy
Friday's poem ["The Grass", by Carl Sandburg, Poem #1748 -- ed.] reminded me
of some lines from Thomas Hardy's long verse drama "The Dynasts." As with
Sandburg, he is concerned with the effects of the forthcoming Battle of
Waterloo on the flora and fauna.

It would be nice if I could boast how clever I am to be reading such ancient
and esoteric verse. The truth is that it is one of the Hardy poems used by
Alan Bennett in his wonderful CD "Poetry in Motion" (www.bbcshop.com). The
full text of the Hardy document can be found at
http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext03/dynst10.txt

You have sufficient Hardy poems on your site not to need biography. But
least I looked up the meaning of some of the unusual words:
    coney (or cony): a rabbit
    scut: tail
    felloe: the outer part of a wheel to which spokes are attached.

FOS.

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