I came across the above quote from Thomas Hardy’s notebooks via the latest post on Stephen Pentz’s blog First Known When Lost
Pentz highlights a poem by F T Prince inspired by this aphorism:
Stand at the grave’s head
Of any common
Man or woman,
Thomas Hardy said,
And in the silence
What they were,
Their life, becomes a poem.
And so with my dead,
As I know them
Now, in his
And wait for, yet a while hence,
My own silence.
F. T. Prince (1912-2003), Collected Poems: 1935-1992 (The Sheep Meadow Press 1993).
Pentz remarks on Prince’s twist on Hardy’ “prosaic”, changed to “common.” Perhaps for metrical or musical reasons? Hardy’s observation captures exactly a feeling I have long had, as some of my graveyard focused posts might suggest.
So here are some gravestones… as you do.