During Wind and Rain

Thomas Hardy

They sing their dearest songs -
He, she, all of them - yea,
Treble and tenor and bass,
   And one to play;
With the candles mooning each face. . .
   Ah, no; the years O!
How the sick leaves reel down in throngs!

They clear the creeping moss -
Elders and juniors - aye,
Making the pathways neat
   And the garden gay;
And they build a shady seat. . . .
   Ah, no; the years, the years;
See, the white storm-birds wing across!

They are blithely breakfasting all -
Men and maidens - yea,
Under the summer tree,
   With a glimpse of the bay,
While pet fowl come to the knee. . . .
   Ah, no; the years O!
And the rotten rose is ript from the wall.

They change to a high new house,
He, she, all of them - aye,
Clocks and carpets and chairs
   On the lawn all day,
And brightest things that are theirs. . . .
   Ah, no; the years, the years;
Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs.

NOTE: Hardy reflects on the family whose names are engraved on a gravestone