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Sunday, 7 June 2015

"From Weymouth" - A Poem and a Postcard

"Backstreets crammed with grockle shops"

A Weymouth poem by Thomas Hardy:

The Harbour Bridge

From here, the quay, one looks above to mark

The bridge across the harbour, hanging dark

Against the day's-end sky, fair-green in glow

Over and under the middle archway's bow:

It draws its skeleton where the sun has set,

Yea, clear from cutwater to parapet;

On which mild glow, too, lines of rope and spar

      Trace themselves black as char.

Down here in shade we hear the painters shift

Against the bollards with a drowsy lift,

As moved by the incoming stealthy tide.

High up across the bridge the burghers glide

As cut black-paper portraits hastening on

In conversation none knows what upon:

Their sharp-edged lips move quickly word by word

       To speech that is not heard.

There trails the dreamful girl, who leans and stops,

There presses the practical woman to the shops,

There is a sailor, meeting his wife with a start,

And we, drawn nearer, judge they are keeping apart.

Both pause. She says: ‘ I've looked for you. I thought

We'd make it up.’ Then no words can be caught.

At last: ‘Won't you come home?’ She moves still nigher:

      ‘ 'Tis comfortable, with a fire.’

‘No,’ he says gloomily. ‘And, anyhow,

I can't give up the other woman now:

You should have talked like that in former days,

When I was last home.’ They go different ways.

And the west dims, and yellow lamplights shine:

And soon above, like lamps more opaline,

White stars ghost forth, that care not for men's wives,

      Or any other lives.


The new bridge, opened in 1930   ("its predecessor only allowed small vessels to pass through and the opening machinery was thought to be too slow")

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