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The Voice

Thomas Hardy

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Added by: George Middleton
This badly crafted poem makes a bit more sense if you are really careful to observe the commas before and after "then" in the fourth line. The pauses are needed to show that the poet is specifying the period he wants reproducing.
The Voice
Added by: G.Baird
"Badly crafted"? What's the man on about? This magnificently crafted poem is one of Hardy's greatest technical achievements. Note how he establishes the repetitive rhythms in the first three stanzas, only to destroy them completely in the final stanza with the words "Thus I". As he turns to examine his own now pathetic condition after his wife's death, the regular metre, rhythm, line length all collapse, emphasising the lack of order and structure in his present situation. In the winter of his life, he has lost his sense of direction and is now "faltering forward" while the leaves fall, the wind blows, and all the time he is haunted by the memory of his wife, and of his neglect of her: "And the woman calling."
Added by: daoxunchang
I agree with Baird. Though compared to many poets before him, Thomas Hardy did write "vulgar" poets, but this one is different. And since I'm not a native English speaker and cannot appreciate the rhymes and metres of English poetry, I usually do not pay much attention to them and instead focus on the images and contents. And I really love the images in this poem and the sensation in it.
I feel much identified with Hardy's description of his recalling of his memory of his late wife. Memory is a curious thing. It may frustrate you as you try very hard to grasp it and thus makes you uneasy and sometimes feel guilty. And at some other times, it may imperceptibly merge from the very depth of your heart and make you feel even stronger an emotion than when the memory was collected.
The grief of bereavement, the regret of their estrangement and the eagerness to recall the accurate appearance of his wife is described acutely here.

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