Featured Poem: The Oxen by Thomas Hardy

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This week’s Featured Poem has a suitably festive feel, The Oxen by Thomas Hardy.

As Christmas Eve approaches we couldn’t think of a better poem for this week’s read.

Thomas Hardy was born in June 1840 and was heavily influenced by the Victorian realist tradition of George Eliot and the romanticism of William Wordsworth. Though he might be primarily known as the author of Far From the Madding Crowd, Hardy considered himself to be a poet. His poetry was not well received during his lifetime but was rediscovered and became very influential in the 1950s.

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

by Thomas Hardy

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