I Looked Up from My Writing

I looked up from my writing,
   And gave a start to see,
As if rapt in my inditing,
   The moon’s full gaze on me.

Her meditative misty head
   Was spectral in its air,
And I involuntarily said,
   ‘What are you doing there?’

‘Oh, I’ve been scanning pond and hole
   And waterway hereabout
For the body of one with a sunken soul
   Who has put his life-light out.

‘Did you hear his frenzied tattle?
   It was sorrow for his son
Who is slain in brutish battle,
   Though he has injured none.

‘And now I am curious to look
   Into the blinkered mind
Of one who wants to write a book
   In a world of such a kind.’

Her temper overwrought me,
   And I edged to shun her view,
For I felt assured she thought me
   One who should drown him too.
– Thomas Hardy, The Poetry of World War I (OUP), pp. 10-11

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