The Impercipient

(at a Cathedral Service)

That from this bright believing band

   An outcast I should be,

That faiths by which my comrades stand

   Seem fantasies to me,

And mirage‑mists their Shining Land,

   Is a drear destiny.

Why thus my soul should be consigned

   To infelicity,

Why always I must feel as blind

   To sights my brethren see,

Why joys they’ve found I cannot find,

   Abides a mystery.

Since heart of mine knows not that ease

   Which they know; since it be

That He who breathes All’s Well to these

   Breathes no All’s Well to me,

My lack might move their sympathies

   And Christian charity!

I am like a gazer who should mark

   An inland company

Standing upfingered, with, “Hark! hark!

   The glorious distant sea!”

And feel, “Alas, ‘tis but yon dark

   And wind‑swept pine to me!”

Yet I would bear my shortcomings

   With meet tranquillity,

But for the charge that blessed things

   I’d liefer have unbe.

O, doth a bird deprived of wings

   Go earth-bound wilfully!

     .     .     .     .

Enough. As yet disquiet clings

   About us. Rest shall we.

Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928).

The Poetry of Things