The Hardy-Lovers

Two in a wood, somewhere in Outer Wessex,

Watched the sun sink, a buzzard hunting low

Across the valley.

                             After each rendezvous,

They read from separate copies of one book,

Fostering togetherness between

Stiff covers.  Each of them took

To bed His, Hers – it seemed to work for a while

(Though she paced out the plot, he

Lingered, savouring style.)


The grass retains no imprint of their hours

Together.  They’ve paid their fines on Jude and Tess.

No smocked philosophers, however,

Will wryly gloss

Their tale, nor melancholy atheist compose

Their rites in monuments of austere prose –


A landscape held them in its palm like chaff:

So light a breeze – so chill the aftermath.



© Anthony Watts

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