by Thomas Hardy)
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
Traveling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
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.
• As chosen by Seamus Heaney from Poems That Can Make Grown Men Cry (Simon & Schuster, £16.99). To order a copy for £13.59 with free UK p&p go to guardianbookshop.co.uk or call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846.