You did not walk with me
Of late to the hill-top tree
By the gated ways, as in earlier days..
You were weak and lame, so you never came…
And I went alone, and I did not mind,
Not thinking of you as left behind.
I walked up there today just in the former way;
Surveyed around the familiar ground by myself again..
What difference, then?
Only that underlying sense of the look of a room on returning thence. Thomas Hardy….
The Walk" is short and poignant….
Between the stanzas we sense the frequent time-shift from past to present. The poet recalls that often in the evening he and Emma (his wife) had walked a spiral path from the end ofthe garden to a“hilltop tree.”
Later, for physical reasons, his companion did not accompany him; but he “did not mind,” having still the sense of her presence.
In the second stanza, now a present moment, he walks again the familiar path.
Nothing has changed. “What difference, then?” he asks.
“Only that underlying sense of the look of a room on returning thence”.
It does not take Freud to define the peculiar impact of this brief poem.
But this poem is not for everyone. It is only for one who has known that painful moment of entering a place haunted by the sense of a beloved personality, now lost.
There is a moment of starkness. One does not want to enter. It is as simple as that …Excerpt Dauner
I did not want to do a literal interpretation of the verse, so I painted “The Walk” as an evening scene in autumn, with mist in the distance and the light of the setting sun still illuminating the trees which are silhouetted against the sky…
I imagined Hardy walking here with his wife till she could no longer do so..
Watercolour On Arches HP Paper