A Wasted Illness

Through vaults of pain,
Enribbed and wrought with groins of ghastliness,
I passed, and garish spectres moved my brain
   To dire distress.

   And hammerings,
And quakes, and shoots, and stifling hotness, blent
With webby waxing things and waning things
   As on I went.

   "Where lies the end
To this foul way?" I asked with weakening breath.
Thereon ahead I saw a door extend -
   The door to death.

   It loomed more clear:
"At last!" I cried. "The all-delivering door!"
And then, I knew not how, it grew less near
   Than theretofore.

   And back slid I
Along the galleries by which I came,
And tediously the day returned, and sky,
   And life--the same.

   And all was well:
Old circumstance resumed its former show,
And on my head the dews of comfort fell
   As ere my woe.

   I roam anew,
Scarce conscious of my late distress . . . And yet
Those backward steps through pain I cannot view
   Without regret.

   For that dire train
Of waxing shapes and waning, passed before,
And those grim aisles, must be traversed again
   To reach that door.

by Thomas Hardy

Comments (5)

Beautiful! Very emotional and creative
It is a painful experience to face so much pain and felt it.
Confrontation with death visualized, while suffering, in this meaningful, beautifully crafted and thought provoking poem. Thanks for sharing it here.
Where lies the end? Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
I have read and examined quite throughly Hardy's novel 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and I find this poem very much apt to certain parts of the book. I strongly commend - both the novel and the poem - to be read searchingly.