One to get you in the mood for Christmas, though this being a Hardy poem it would be wise not to expect too much in the way of festive cheer. I like the fact that we are left to form our own conjecture as to exactly why the lady danced on hearing of her husband’s death. My money is on the realisation that it meant she wouldn’t have to spend another Christmas with her in-laws.
Seen By The Waits
Through snowy woods and shady
We went to play a tune
To the lonely manor-lady
By the light of the Christmas moon.
We violed till, upward glancing
To where a mirror leaned,
It showed her airily dancing,
Deeming her movements screened;
Dancing alone in the room there,
Thin-draped in her robe of night;
Her postures, glassed in the gloom there,
Were a strange phantasmal sight.
She had learnt (we heard when homing)
That her roving spouse was dead:
Why she had danced in the gloaming
We thought, but never said.