Thanks for this thread, Aaron. I love this poem. Interesting you raise the question of the point of view because it seems to me that the poem is also about where things are viewed from. This is something we also find in his novels, where people are often glimpsed (and he loved the word "glimpse") in doorways or leaning out of windows (our first view of Fancy in Under the Greenwood Tree, for example, or of the "rash bride" in the poem of that name). Other poems that have characters who are caught in revealing poses or situations through windows and doorways include "Seen by the Waits", "In Church", "Outside the Window". And he has two poems in which the moon observes people through windows.
I guess I could resist posting this Hardy poem, but I haven't. It's among my favorites, especially the last stanza.
By Thomas Hardy
Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
Thanks, John. Hardy is one of the few poets who can get away with using triple metre in a serious poem.
Yes, I love his ear here. It reminds me of how I like this:
The river sweats
Oil and tar
The barges drift
With the turning tide
To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.
The barges wash
Down Greenwich reach
Past the Isle of Dogs.
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