It was your way, my dear,
To be gone without a word
When callers, friends, or kin
Had left, and I hastened in
To rejoin you, as I inferred.
And when you’d a mind to career
Off anywhere – say to town –
You were all on a sudden gone
Before I had thought thereon,
Or noticed your trunks were down.
So, now that you disappear
For ever in that swift style,
Your meaning seems to me
Just as it used to be:
‘Good-bye is not worth while!’
Short Poem Analysis
"Without Ceremony" by Thomas Hardy is a contemplative and introspective poem that explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. Through its melancholic tone and reflective language, the poem delves into the emotional aftermath of a failed relationship and the quiet acceptance that follows.
The title, "Without Ceremony," suggests a lack of fanfare or spectacle, setting the tone for the poem's subdued and understated approach to its subject matter. This lack of ceremony reflects the idea that the end of the relationship occurred quietly, without any dramatic confrontation.
The poem's opening lines immediately convey a sense of emotional distance and detachment. The speaker states that the end of the relationship came "in silence and apart," indicating that there was no grand confrontation or formal breakup.
As the poem unfolds, the speaker reflects on the absence of bitterness or resentment. The phrase "Nor will you kiss my lips again" conveys a resigned acceptance that the intimacy and connection of the past are now irretrievably lost.
Throughout the poem, the speaker's language is characterized by restraint and understatement, reflecting a sense of emotional numbness that comes after the passage of time. The description of the departing lover as "brightly-haired" and "rosy-red" contrasts with the speaker's own muted emotional state.
The poem's melancholic tone is underscored by its contemplation of the passage of time and the changing seasons. The image of the "moon's chill waxen sheen" suggests a pale and distant light, mirroring the speaker's emotional detachment.
"Without Ceremony" encapsulates Hardy's exploration of the complexities of human relationships and the quiet acceptance that can come after the end of a connection. The poem's reflection on the passage of time and the eventual fading of emotions emphasizes the themes of transience and impermanence. The understated and reflective language invites readers to consider the emotions that can linger after the tumultuous events of love and loss have passed.