Thomas Hardy

By Norman Dubie b. 1945 Norman Dubie
The first morning after anyone’s death, is it important
To know that fields are wet, that the governess is
Naked but with a scarf still covering her head, that
She’s sitting on a gardener who’s wearing
Just a blue shirt, or that he’s sitting on a chair in the kitchen.
They look like they are rowing while instead outside in the mist
Two boats are passing on the river, the gardener’s mouth
Is opening:

A white, screaming bird lifts off the river into the trees,
Flies a short distance and is joined
By a second bird, but then as if to destroy everything
The two white birds are met by a third. The night
Always fails. The cows are now standing in the barns.
You can hear the milk as it drills into wooden pails.

Norman Dubie, “Thomas Hardy” from The Mercy Seat: Collected & New Poems 1967-2001 (Copper Canyon Press, 2001).

Source: The Mercy Seat: Collected & New Poems 1967-2001 (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)

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Poet Norman Dubie b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Health & Illness, Sorrow & Grieving

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Norman  Dubie


Norman Dubie was born in Barre, Vermont in 1945, the son of a radical minister and a nurse. Dubie began writing poetry at age eleven and was influenced by both his father’s Sunday sermons and his mother’s tales of hospital life. Acknowledging his debt as a writer to his parents, Dubie noted in an interview with Poets & Writers magazine that “I got the weirdest introduction to writing from them—my mother, because she would come . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, Sorrow & Grieving

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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