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-   -   Hardy's "Fallow Deer" (http://www.ablemuse.com/erato/showthread.php?t=29043)

Aaron Poochigian 01-11-2018 01:08 PM

Hardy's "Fallow Deer"
 
I love Hardy the most at his simplest and most straight-forward, I think. This little lyric is great:

The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House

One without looks in to-night
Through the curtain-chink
From the sheet of glistening white;
One without looks in to-night
As we sit and think
By the fender-brink.

We do not discern those eyes
Watching in the snow;
Lit by lamps of rosy dyes
We do not discern those eyes
Wondering, aglow,
Fourfooted, tiptoe.

I do think there is a flaw—the speaker is an “I” (part of the “we”), and there is a perceptual inconsistency in that the “I” is aware that it does “not discern” the deer outside. Would the poem be better in the third person omniscient?

The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House

One without looks in to-night
Through the curtain-chink
From the sheet of glistening white;
One without looks in to-night
As they sit and think
By the fender-brink.

They do not discern those eyes
Watching in the snow;
Lit by lamps of rosy dyes
They do not discern those eyes
Wondering, aglow,
Fourfooted, tiptoe.

Also, why does it matter that the deer is “fallow”?

John Isbell 01-11-2018 01:40 PM

Hi Aaron,

I do like Hardy - thank you.
Fallow deer are a thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallow_deer

Cheers,
John

R. S. Gwynn 01-11-2018 06:56 PM

I can't see any reason to question the pov. If you see venison on a menu, most likely it's from a farm-raised fallow deer.

R. S. Gwynn 01-11-2018 06:57 PM

I can't see any reason to question the pov. If you see venison on a menu, most likely it's from a farm-raised fallow deer.

Aaron Poochigian 01-11-2018 07:54 PM

Hmn, thank you, John. "Fallow" usually means "non-pregnant." There can be, it seems, a Fallow Buck.

John Isbell 01-11-2018 08:25 PM

I guess the buck is not going to be pregnant at the end of the day.

John

Ann Drysdale 01-12-2018 02:37 AM

Fallow deer are one of Britain's native species. It never occurred to me that anyone could see the "fallow" as an ordinary adjective.

One such could easily have peered in at Max Gate, or been spotted (excuse naturalist's joke) doing so by Hardy when taking Wessex for a walk in his own woods. From which viewpoint he might have seen it peering in at the rest of the family.

Forgive me; just a bit of devil's advocacy. I too love Hardy at his simplest. I read "Afterwards" at my husband's funeral and hope someone may read it at mine.

Aaron Poochigian 01-12-2018 06:45 AM

Thank you, all, for filling my knowledge gap on "Fallow Deer." Ann, let's get that "Afterwards" up on the Board:

Afterwards
Thomas Hardy, 1840 - 1928

When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
“He was a man who used to notice such things”?

If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid’s soundless blink,
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think,
“To him this must have been a familiar sight.”

If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,
One may say, “He strove that such innocent creatures should
come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone.”

If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at
the door,
Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees,
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
“He was one who had an eye for such mysteries”?

And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom,
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings,
Till they rise again, as they were a new bell’s boom,
“He hears it not now, but used to notice such things?”

Michael F 01-12-2018 07:08 AM

Lovely poems, both of them. And Annie, what an inspired idea to read that poem at a funeral. I must say I think it describes you, the you I know.

And, O, serendipity! In today’s NYT Christian Wiman has an appraisal of Wilbur emphasizing his capacity for wonder and 'light'. I think it’s related -- and worth a read.

John Isbell 01-12-2018 08:38 AM

Thanks for that article, Michael - I love Wilbur's care for the word required.

Cheers,
John


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