Thomas Hardy

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