Inspired by a character in Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native


Queen of the night,

her hair was winter-dark,

a raven trapped

in the thorns of Victorian values;

raw material of a divinity,

she kept herself apart.

They thought her a wanton witch:

lonely wanderer on the night-cloaked heath,

dancer on the Rainbarrow,

longing to be loved to madness.

Craving freedom, romance and desire,

she found only passion and sorrow,

and death in the boiling cauldron of Shadwater weir,

her memory held in a few strands of raven hair.


© Kim M. Russell, 2016

Eustacia 2

Image found on

“All that remained of the desperate and unfortunate Eustacia.” by Arthur Hopkins Plate 12. (December): to face page 229. 6.375″ x 4.3125.” From the author’s “Arthur Hopkins’s Illustrations for the Monthly Serialisation of Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native.”