In many of the poems that Hardy wrote about Emma there is something to do with ghosts or haunting and these type of poems are the ones where Hardy seems to be having a breakdown of some sort as if remembering how their relationship and love wasn’t really real is unbelievable to him as she means so much to him now. This can be seen in the poem “The Voice” as that is exactly what it is. To start with Hardy calls Emma “woman” showing that he doesn’t really know what she is to him and to me it’s like he doesn’t know how to talk about her and as if he hasn’t got the right due to no treating her like his wife. But it also shows that he know that she has grown since they first met and it’s as though he has realised how much of her life he has missed.
The repetition of the words “call to me” shows like a ghostly echo in his mind making him think and believe he is being haunted which deep down I guess he is by all the memories he has. He also uses the word “missed” showing a desperation and yearning of Emma and how he really wants her back but also how he really does miss her and the fact that he has had to lose her to find this out make it even more crushing and hurtful for him.
He seems to accuse Emma by saying “when you had changed” as though it was all down to her but in reality you are going to change when you move and get married and then don’t have an actual marriage, things won’t be the same and that both of their faults not just hers. In the poem Hardy is seeing Emma as she was when they first fell in love and is saying that he was to “view” her if it is her voice that he can “hear”.
This can come across as though he is accusing Emma of haunting him but it’s the need that he has to see her and tell her how he really feels. The description that he uses “original air-blue gown!” shows how clearly he is seeing Emma in his mind and how real fantasy seems to him where he is grieving her death and showing the regret that he has. Hardy then goes on to say that the voices are moving forward and from what he says, “Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward” I get an image of death creeping up on him.
By using the word “thorn” in this sentence it shows to me a rose as all roses have thorns but roses represent love which is exactly what Hardy is talking about really. The last sentence of the poem “And the woman calling” shows that he can hear a calling but he still doesn’t know if it is Emma calling him and that could be why death is creeping up on him as by not knowing it is killing him inside and he doesn’t know what to do about it.
Overall Hardy has a very mixed up set of emotions through this period of him life and everything has been turned upside down and he doesn’t know how to cope. This seems slightly ironic as he has managed to live without Emma before her death technically but now she is gone he has realised what she really meant to him but he doesn’t know how to make this up to her let alone move on with his life.
Due to Emma leaving him he feels abandoned even though they were basically separated beforehand but the fact that deep down she was still there for him and vice versa obviously meant something to him otherwise he wouldn’t have had a breakdown over her death and the feelings and memories that he has of her. It goes to prove that you really don’t know what you have until you have lost it and i think that this section of Hardy’s poems show exactly that but its dreadful that he generally had to lose her to show his feelings and concerns for and of her.