Thomas Hardy's Poetry on Religion

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'Poetry is a ceremonial form and ceremonies can help reconcile us to the aspects of our human experience which are themselves irreconcilable.' (Haslam & Turton) How do at least three of Hardy's poems about religion and agnosticism attempt to do this? Ceremonies mark most rites of passage in our lives. Parties and festivals mark happier events while rituals and funerals occur at sadder times. As well as assisting the deceased's passing to an …

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…Hardy's agnosticism; he still 'hopes' it might be as he once blindly believed. The poem allows him to explore deeply introspective feelings in a succinct and profound fashion. As in Afternoon Service at Mellstock there is a sense that religion, its traditions and its rituals, lends sense to human experience, whether God is explicitly involved or not. It is as if the 'trappings' of religion, rather than religion itself, enable the irreconcilable to be reconciled.