augury doggerel

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Hardy Har

There are stories about how Thomas Hardy lost his heart for the last time. This is a good version:
According to Frank Smyth, the heart was removed while the corpse was still in the house and wrapped in a tea towel, then placed in a biscuit tin next to the body, awaiting the undertakers arrival the next day. When the undertaker arrived to collect the heart for burial all he found were a few gristly scraps of heart and a fat and contented cat! As it was his duty to bury Mr Hardy's heart in the village graveyard, he killed the cat and placed it inside the biscuit tin and then carried on as if nothing had happened.

Here's Hardy:

Snow in the Suburbs

Every branch big with it,
Bent every twig with it;
Every fork like a white web-foot;
Every street and pavement mute:
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward, when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
The palings are glued together like a wall,
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,
Whereon immediately
A snow-lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him and showers his head and eyes,
And overturns him,
And near inurns him,
And lights on a nether twig, when its brush
Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope,
Up which, with feeble hope,
A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin;
And we take him in.


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