A Procession Of Dead Days

A poem by Thomas Hardy

I see the ghost of a perished day;
I know his face, and the feel of his dawn:
'Twas he who took me far away
To a spot strange and gray:
Look at me, Day, and then pass on,
But come again: yes, come anon!

Enters another into view;
His features are not cold or white,
But rosy as a vein seen through:
Too soon he smiles adieu.
Adieu, O ghost-day of delight;
But come and grace my dying sight.

Enters the day that brought the kiss:
He brought it in his foggy hand
To where the mumbling river is,
And the high clematis;
It lent new colour to the land,
And all the boy within me manned.

Ah, this one. Yes, I know his name,
He is the day that wrought a shine
Even on a precinct common and tame,
As 'twere of purposed aim.
He shows him as a rainbow sign
Of promise made to me and mine.

The next stands forth in his morning clothes,
And yet, despite their misty blue,
They mark no sombre custom-growths
That joyous living loathes,
But a meteor act, that left in its queue
A train of sparks my lifetime through.

I almost tremble at his nod -
This next in train who looks at me
As I were slave, and he were god
Wielding an iron rod.
I close my eyes; yet still is he
In front there, looking mastery.

In the similitude of a nurse
The phantom of the next one comes:
I did not know what better or worse
Chancings might bless or curse
When his original glossed the thrums
Of ivy, bringing that which numbs.

Yes; trees were turning in their sleep
Upon their windy pillows of gray
When he stole in. Silent his creep
On the grassed eastern steep . . .
I shall not soon forget that day,
And what his third hour took away!

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