Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thomas Hardy and animals

By Tracy and John

We both love Thomas Hardy's poetry (as well as his other writings). Hardy cared greatly about animals and could make succinct poetic arguments for their rights. The following poem is that and more... very acute on class and gender too, and yet he brings them together effortlessly. John notes too the kind of de-signifying of the pastoral at the poem's very end.

(NB Every second line of this poem should be indented -- I [TR] will soon find out how to make the indents work on Blogger...!)

The Lady in the Furs
(Thomas Hardy)

"I'm a lofty lovely woman,"
Says the lady in the furs,
In the glance she throws around her
On the poorer dames and sirs:
"This robe, that cost three figures,
Yes, is mine," her nod avers.

"True, my money did not buy it,
But my husband's, from the trade;
And they, they only got it
From things feeble and afraid
By murdering them in ambush
With a cunning engine's aid.

"True, my hands, too, did not shape it
To the pretty cut you see,
But the hands of midnight workers
Who are strangers quite to me:
It was fitted, too, by dressers
Ranged around me toilsomely.

"But I am a lovely lady,
Though sneerers say I shine
By robbing Nature's children
Of apparel not mine,
And that I am but a broom-stick,
Like a scarecrow's wooden spine."


Nathan Hobby said...

I didn't know this side of Hardy. He certainly described the sheep quite lovingly in Far from the madding crowd.

Mutually Said: Poets Vegan Anarchist Pacifist said...

Yes -- and he wrote many others of a similar sensibility. I might post another one in a subsequent blog entry, since he's out of copyright so the poems can be shared in this way...!


L. A. Mills said...

Do you know if Hardy was a practicing vegetarian or not?



Tracy Ryan said...

I don't know (Tracy). I will check whether John knows-- he's read more Hardy biography than I have.

But even if Hardy wasn't, his poems often open the way to that kind of thinking...