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“The Echo Elf Answers”

Photo by Ed Weinman

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) is best known for his novels. Although I admire them as much as anybody, I now like his poetry even more. His subjects seem to be on the somber side, but I love their simplicity and rugged construction, such as this one:

The Echo Elf Answers

How much shall I love her?
For life, or not long?
“Not long.”

Alas! When forget her?
In years, or by June?
“By June.”

And whom woo I after?
No one, or a throng?
“A throng.”

Of these shall I wed one
Long hence, or quite soon?
“Quite soon.”

And which will my bride be?
The right or the wrong?
“The wrong.”

And my remedy – what kind?
Wealth-wove, or earth-hewn?