(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

A Christmas Ghost Story.

South of the Line, inland from far Durban,
A mouldering soldier lies--your countryman.
Awry and doubled up are his gray bones,
And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans
Nightly to clear Canopus: "I would know
By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law
Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified,
Was ruled to be inept, and set aside?

And what of logic or of truth appears
In tacking 'Anno Domini' to the years?
Near twenty-hundred livened thus have hied,
But tarries yet the Cause for which He died."

User Rating: 2,7 / 5 ( 131 votes ) 8

Comments (8)

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The hard realism lacks in a somewhat more romantic view of Human Nature.
Wow. This was a new Hardy for me, but it definitely fits into the dark, pessimistic outlook that I have come to expect and love from him.
Lucy bring's up a very important question. I cannot answer it- -but the poem can certainly be read both ways. I would rather take it as a man of faith unhappy with mankind for not yielding to love over armed hostility. It is good to write poetry like this- that poses a question of intent and thus cause good readers to dig deeper.
Tricky and contentious and it was like being told that the ghost of the dear departed is watching you........ yet nicely penned........thanks for sharing
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