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A Wife In London

 December 1899


She sits in the tawny vapour 
That the Thames-side lanes have uprolled, 
Behind whose webby fold-on-fold 
Like a waning taper 
The street-lamp glimmers cold.
A messenger's knock cracks smartly, Flashed news in her hand Of meaning it dazes to understand Though shaped so shortly: He--he has fallen--in the far South Land.
II 'Tis the morrow; the fog hangs thicker, The postman nears and goes: A letter is brought whose lines disclose By the firelight flicker His hand, whom the worm now knows: Fresh--firm--penned in highest feather-- Page-full of his hoped return, And of home-planned jaunts of brake and burn In the summer weather, And of new love that they would learn.

by Thomas Hardy
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