Drummer Hodge



            They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest

                   Uncoffined–just as found:

            His landmark is a kopje-crest

                   That breaks the veldt around;

             And foreign constellations west

                   Each night above his mound.



             Young Hodge the Drummer never knew–

                   Fresh from his Wessex home–

              The meaning of the broad Karoo,

                   The Bush, the dusty loam,

              And why uprose to nightly view

                   Strange stars amid the gloam.



              Yet portion of that unknown plain

                   Will Hodge for ever be;

               His homely Northern breast and brain

                    Grow to some Southern tree,

               And strange-eyed constellations reign

                    His stars eternally.



Reproduced from James Gibson, ed. The Complete Poems of Thomas Hardy. New York: Macmillan, 1976. 90-91.