Featured Poem: The Voice by Thomas Hardy

As this week celebrates World Read Aloud Day (one of our favourite days), we thought it’d be apt to showcase the aural in written form. Voices are instantly recognisable, comforting or sometimes jarring – for instance, when we think we can hear whispers in the dead of night but it turns out to be the sound of the wind (which would be easily mistaken for a person with its force at the present time). Voices give the human presence to words that have been written long ago, and that’s one of the reasons why reading aloud is such an important factor in helping us to feel closer to literature and one another.

‘Reading aloud makes me feel close to everyone in the room. Our heads get stuck in the story and we’re all sharing the adventure together. We laugh, we smile, we sometimes cry – it’s exhilarating and makes you feel ALIVE!’

Why not get your vocal chords warmed up in time for World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday by reading this poem by Thomas Hardy?

The Voice

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever consigned to existlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward
And the woman calling.

Thomas Hardy

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We hope you’ll join us in reading something aloud to celebrate World Read Aloud Day this year. You can let us know what you love about reading aloud by tweeting us @thereaderorg and adding the hashtag #WRAD15

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