Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve

I feel obliged to rescue this poem from a Christmas carol website and give it some air. If you grew up in a country place or live in one now, the sense of possibility is omnipresent.

Some people consider this a poem of disillusionment but I don't think I am one of them.


The Oxen by Thomas Hardy


Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so’


I am not the first to think of this obviously. There is a closer reading here http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/dec/16/thomas-hardy-oxen-seasons-readings.

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