Thomas Hardy, Friends Beyond

This poem is something of a eulogy to Hardy’s dead friends. The speaker refers to them as “group of local hearts and heads.” Both of these are great synechdoches, parts that stand in for a whole. Thus “group of local hearts” refers to his friends’ inner beings and “heads” refers to his friends’ intelligence and intellectual capabilities. The speaker is in a way having a conversation with distant friends and when they speak they share the freedom they now feel. In particular, “death gave all that we possess.” This line can be interpreted to mean that they no longer fear death.