Floyd Skloot

Thomas Hardy in the Dorset County Museum
September 11, 2014 Skloot Floyd

Thomas Hardy in the Dorset County Museum


Turned sideways in a desk chair,

elbow perched on its top rail,

the life-size cardboard Thomas Hardy

looks wary. Even when no one is here

Hardy sits tight, certain something

must take him from happy solitude.

Work is everywhere now, a poem’s

lines whirling in a figure-eight above

his head, chapter one of a novel

looming behind him, rough drafts

of letters under glass at his knee.

Apologizing, knowing he never liked

being touched, I drape my arm over

his shoulder as my wife takes our picture.

He is much younger than I am,

not the sage Hardy with wizened face,

wispy hair and waxed mustache tips.

His beard is darker, thicker, his hair

shorter, but the matching domes

of our foreheads are enough to

let me feel what I have come all

this way to feel. It is time to move on

to the place where he was born.

Floyd Skloot’s recent collections of poetry include Approaching Winter (2015), The Snow’s Music (2008) and The End of Dreams (2006), all from LSU Press, which will publish his ninth collection, Far West, in 2019. His most recent book is a fictional memoir, The Phantom of Thomas Hardy (University of Wisconsin Press, 2016).