A Broken Appointment
By Thomas Hardy
You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb,—
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.
You love not me,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
–I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me?
I met this poem in the Norton Anthology of Poetry when I was an undergraduate. I associate it with late nights and reading poetry out loud back and forth with my best friend, Stephanie. Who read this poem to whom? I no longer recall. I’m not sure when this poem has stuck with me so; but there you are.