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Gloomy Greenhouse Poets - Part Two - Thomas Hardy

You can’t write about gloomy poets without mentioning Thomas Hardy. He is reliably gloomy on most subjects, so when he turns to greenhouses we know what we’re in for.

 

The memory roots of this one are in Cornwall, where Hardy met his first wife, Emma. The guilt he felt for his treatment of Emma after she died fuelled his later poetry as well as this return to St Juliot.

 

The Frozen Greenhouse

(St Juliot)

 

‘There was a frost

Last night!’ she said,

‘And the stove was forgot

When we went to bed,

And the greenhouse plants

Are frozen dead!’

 

By the breakfast blaze

Blank-faced spoke she,

Her scared young look

Seeming to be

The very symbol

Of tragedy.

 

The frost is fiercer

Than then to-day,

As I pass the place

Of her once dismay,

But the greenhouse stands

Warm, tight, and gay,

 

While she who grieved

At the sad lot

Of her pretty plants -

Cold, iced, forgot -

Herself is colder,

And knows it not.


I'm up for some more Gloomy Greenhouse Poet suggestions if you have them. Or Jolly Greenhouse Poets if you'd rather.



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