You did not walk with me
Of late to the hill-top tree
By the gated ways,
As in earlier days;
You were weak and lame,
So you never came,
And I went alone, and I did not mind,
Not thinking of you as left behind.
I walked up there to-day
Just in the former way;
The familiar ground
By myself again:
What difference, then?
Only that underlying sense
Of the look of a room on returning thence.
Very poignant simple direct words straight to the point and from personal experience.
S1 – TH speaks of the ritual of a familiar walk without the usual accompaniment of his spouse because she is unable to come due to ill-health … but TH took her with her so to speak remembering the many times they had walked together … he did not mind – ‘not thinking of you as left behind’ … (and when he returned she would be there in the room to share his return … we can infer this after we read the second stanza).
S2 – TH again takes the familiar walk … and what difference then … he was again walking by himself and with his wife in mind … but as he walks he is painfully reminded that the room will be different when he returns and there will be no communion and sharing.