Sunday, December 1, 2019

Poetry Sunday: At Day-Close in November by Thomas Hardy

Before there were houses built in my neighborhood some forty years ago, there were tall pine trees, many reaching a hundred feet or more into the sky. Many of the lots still have some of these trees in their backyards. I find it hard to imagine a time when these giants were not present on the land. 

Our lot does not have pine trees. When we moved here thirty years ago, there were a couple of magnolia trees on the lot. One of the first things we did after moving here was to plant trees, live oaks and red oaks. Today those trees spread their limbs over our front yard and reach for the sky. I'm sure the children who live in the neighborhood cannot imagine a time when these giants were not present on the land.

Thomas Hardy addressed that in this poem:
And the children who ramble through here
Conceive that there never has been
A time when no tall trees grew here,
A time when none will be seen.
Let us hope that there will not be a time when none will be seen.  

At Day-Close in November

by Thomas Hardy


The ten hours' light is abating,

And a late bird flies across,
Where the pines, like waltzers waiting,
Give their black heads a toss.

Beech leaves, that yellow the noon-time,
Float past like specks in the eye;
I set every tree in my June time,
And now they obscure the sky.

And the children who ramble through here
Conceive that there never has been
A time when no tall trees grew here,
A time when none will be seen.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Dorothy. Thanks for the link to Thomas Hardy and thanks for reminding us about trees, glorious big, imposing trees. I am sure that I could not live without trees. When I look at the stark beauty of the Arctic the first thing that impresses itself on me is the lack of trees. Trees are part of my emotional survival kit.

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    1. And trees are a very big part of our physical survival kit, whether we acknowledge it or not. We would be in even more trouble than we are without them.

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    2. They are unquestionably a vital part of our physical survival kit, yet we are destroying them mercilessly.

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    3. Exactly. We seem incapable of recognizing our peril.

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  2. I love trees. I love the country and miss it to so much! People take trees for granted!

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    1. They are such omnipresent accompaniments to our lives. And thank goodness for that!

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  3. Beautiful poem. I love trees stark against the winter sky. I could not imagine my front yard without the Norway Maple that came with the yard, and is still there over 30 years later.

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    1. One of the magnolia trees that were here when we arrived is still with us. We had the other one removed a few years ago. The oaks that we planted have now been here almost thirty years. It's lovely to have all of these mature trees surrounding us.

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  4. We were fortunate to acquire so many trees when we bought our current house. We are surrounded by them even though we have already lost a mimosa (to age and termites) and a pine (to the drought of recent years.) The trick has been what to plant where because at different seasons the shady and sunny areas change so much. But I would not give up those trees for any reason.

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    1. Their presence comforts us. I never feel more at peace than when sitting in my favorite bench under the magnolia tree that predates our presence in this house or under the red oak that we planted thirty years ago. There is something ineffably tranquil and relaxing in their simply existing there.

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