31 December 1915

A New Year’s Eve in War Time 1915-1916 by Thomas Hardy

Phantasmal fears,
And the flap of the flame,
And the throb of the clock,
And a loosened slate,
And the blind night’s drone,
Which tiredly the spectral pines intone!

And the blood in my ears
Strumming always the same,
And the gable-cock
With its fitful grate,
And myself, alone.

The twelfth hour nears
Hand-hid, as in shame;
I undo the lock,
And listen, and wait
For the Young Unknown.

In the dark there careers —
As if Death astride came
To numb all with his knock —
A horse at mad rate
Over rut and stone.

No figure appears,
No call of my name,
No sound but ‘Tic-toc’
Without check. Past the gate
It clatters — is gone.

What rider it bears
There is none to proclaim;
And the Old Year has struck,
And, scarce animate,
The New makes moan.

Maybe that ‘More Tears! —
More Famine and Flame —
More Severance and Shock!’
Is the order from Fate
That the Rider speeds on
To pale Europe; and tiredly the pines intone.

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This entry was posted on December 31st, 2015.