What Did It Mean?

A poem by Thomas Hardy

What did it mean that noontide, when
You bade me pluck the flower
Within the other woman's bower,
Whom I knew nought of then?

I thought the flower blushed deeplier aye,
And as I drew its stalk to me
It seemed to breathe: "I am, I see,
Made use of in a human play."

And while I plucked, upstarted sheer
As phantom from the pane thereby
A corpse-like countenance, with eye
That iced me by its baleful peer -
Silent, as from a bier . . .

When I came back your face had changed,
It was no face for me;
O did it speak of hearts estranged,
And deadly rivalry

In times before
I darked your door,
To seise me of
Mere second love,
Which still the haunting first deranged?

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