POETRY: A Christmas Ghost-Story by Thomas Hardy

A Christmas Ghost-Story by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve 1899

South of the Line, inland from far Durban,
A mouldering soldier lies – your countryman.
Awry and doubled up are his gray bones,
And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans
Nightly to clear Canopus: “I would know
By whom and when the All-Earth-Gladdening Law
of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified,
Was ruled to be inept, and set aside?
And what of logic or of truth appears
In tackling “Anno Domini” to the years?
Near twenty-hundred liveried thus have hied,
But tarries yet the Cause for which He died.”

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