Your Last Drive
by Thomas Hardy
from Satires of Circumstance, 1914
Here by the moorway you returned,
And saw the borough lights ahead
That lit your face–all undiscerned
To be in a week the face of the dead,
And you told of the charm of that haloed view
That never again would beam on you.
And on your left you passed the spot
Where eight days later you were to lie,
And be spoken of as one who was not;
Beholding it with a cursory eye
As alien from you, though under its tree
You soon would halt everlastingly.
I drove not with you . . . Yet had I sat
At your side that eve I should not have seen
That the countenance I was glancing at
Had a last-time look in the flickering sheen,
Nor have read the writing upon your face,
“I go hence soon to my resting-place;
“You may miss me then. But I shall not know
How many times you visit me there,
Or what your thoughts are, or if you go
There never at all. And I shall not care.
Should you censure me I shall take no heed
And even your praises I shall not need.”
True: never you’ll know. And you will not mind.
But shall I then slight you because of such?
Dear ghost, in the past did you ever find
The thought “What profit?” move me much
Yet the fact indeed remains the same,
You are past love, praise, indifference, blame.
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