The dead come on with us. In God’s home movie
of the cemetery, the visitors and the dead—indeed,
the vegetation—are indistinguishable. Each has a
different way of moving but from a distance you
would never know it. All are in transition.
Hence more than a hundred years I spent
In my feat of change from a coffin-thrall
To a dancer in green as leaves on a wall...
“Voices from Things Growing in a Churchyard”
Hardy explores the same theme in such remarkable
poems as “Transformations” (“Portion of this yew/
Is a man my grandsire knew”) and “Heredity,”
which is really a late-Victorian take on DNA.