Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Family Face

Here's Thomas Hardy on the subject of Heredity

I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.

The years-heired feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance -- that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die.


MSF said...

Do you know I hadn't connected this at all before now, but this made me think of the lyrics to Marc Cohn's song, "The things we've handed down" (here in part):

Will you laugh just like your mother?
Will you sigh like your old man?
Will some things skip a generation like I've heard they often can?
Are you a poet or a dancer, a devil or a clown?
Or a strange new combination of the things we've handed down?

I wonder who you'll look like - will your hair fall down in curls?
Will you be a mama's boy or daddy's little girl?
Will you be a sad reminder
Of what's been lost along the way?
Maybe you can help me find her in the things you do and say.

And these things that we have given you, they are not so easily found.
But you can thank us later for the things we've handed down.

You may not always be so grateful for the way that you were made,
Maybe some feature of your father's that you'd gladly sell or trade.
And one day you may look at us and say that you were cursed,
But over time that line has been extremely well rehearsed,
by our fathers, and their fathers, in some old and distant town -
from places no-one here remembers come the things we've handed down...

Helen Clare said...

Yes, and there's that idea about inheritance as a curse.
Lovely, thanks.