The Casual Acquaintance

A poem by Thomas Hardy

While he was here in breath and bone,
To speak to and to see,
Would I had known more clearly known -
What that man did for me

When the wind scraped a minor lay,
And the spent west from white
To gray turned tiredly, and from gray
To broadest bands of night!

But I saw not, and he saw not
What shining life-tides flowed
To me-ward from his casual jot
Of service on that road.

He would have said: "'Twas nothing new;
We all do what we can;
'Twas only what one man would do
For any other man."

Now that I gauge his goodliness
He's slipped from human eyes;
And when he passed there's none can guess,
Or point out where he lies.

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