Jarrell and Jude
The postman comes when I am still in bed.
"Postman, what do you have for me today?"
I say to him. (But really I'm in bed.)
Then he says - what shall I have him say?
The poem is a cute picture of a certain sort of nostalgia - nostalgia for what is not the case. It's impressive how Jarrell can charge a quite straightforward poem about a specific situation with such depths of both joy and sadness:
If I can think of it, it isn't what I want.
I want . . . I want a ship from some near star
To land in the yard, and beings to come out
And think to me: "So this is where you are!
Come." Except that they won't do,
I thought of them. . . .
The other half of the day was spent reading Hardy, a thing I haven't done for years. In the meantime I had come rather under the spell of the Hardy-naysayers (who, by the law of double negatives, are presumably actually yeasayers). So I'm pleasantly rebuked by the wit and - yes - modernity of the writing. Everyone goes on about how bleak and pessimistic Hardy's plots are; but they forget to mention how much pleasure he gets out of them.