If you're all depressed from the death stuff in "Afterwards," don't worry; there are plenty of natural images that suggest life and renewal, to counteract all the doom and gloom. Hardy liked balance in his writing. Even when everything seems about as depressing as it can get, there's bound to be a ray of sunshine, somewhere. In "Afterwards," that ray of hope comes in the form of the speaker's relationship to the natural world. The series of unexpected, unusual natural images creates a web of interrelated ideas: the images of one stanza loosely connect with the images of other stanzas.
The speaker of "Afterwards" uses unexpected, unusual metaphors to describe natural images, frequently using invented words, in order to highlight his unusual sensitivity to such things.