Past possibilities


  "Nine drops of water bead the jessamine,
    And nine-and-ninety smear the stones and tiles:
    - 'Twas not so in that August full-rayed, fine
    When we lived out-of-doors, sang songs, strode miles.

    Or was there then no noted radiancy
    Of summer? Were dun clouds, a dribbling bough,
    Gilt over by the light I bore in me,
    And was the waste world just the same as now?

    It can have been so: yea, that threatenings
    Of coming down-drip on the sunless gray,
    By the then possibilities in things
    Were wrought more bright than brightest skies to-day.''

-- "A Wet August,'' by Thomas Hardy