Thomas Hardy’s View on Time
In hardy’s poems time is not constant or limited by a forward direction of time passing nor the vertical view of time. time is a landscape or location upon which we view the different vantage points and aspects of it, and consequently he has given locations the characteristics of time. The journey through locations is constant and forward moving but as in time you can access memories but revisiting them in your mind, or in hardy’s sense, by revisiting the location.
ou are not locked in time as you are in reality, hardy rewinds time as he chooses and sees what he saw at any period in his life but only when at the location. This comes through in “after a journey” when hardy revisits a cave and the echo from his previous visit their still remained, as if no time had passed, “and the cave just under, with a voice still so hollow that it seems to call out to me from forty years ago” Hardy’s subconscious is so active that by revisiting a place, any memories from there reawaken and occupy the scene.
In the first stanza of ‘where the picnic was’ we are in hardy’s memory at the early stages of assumedly Emma and hardy’s marriage, when the ‘fire’ was still young and strong in their relationship. Hardy is describing a place they went in the summer time. towards the end of the stanza we are indicated that there has been a change and time is allowed to show what is in front of him then juxtaposition is introduced and we are rapidly in this new, dull and derelict scene but the location has not changed.
The time jump shows where hardy really is in his life journey. Reminding him that can although he can see all these different vantage points of a landscape there is always on true outcome the present giving time a personality and the ability to ridicule. This relates to “after a journey” where Time is personified “despite Time’s derision” time is given a character that in a way as if to taunt Hardy for wanting so much to access old layers of time . Emphasising that time has the ultimate power and control and can not be completely defied