Friday, 5 June 2015

A bi'a culjur

Earlier this week my interest was piqued and since then, at odd moments, I have been dipping into A Shropshire Lad by A E Housman.  Poetry isn't generally my thing.  I probably spent far too much time at school dissecting the works of Shakespeare, Coleridge, Wordsworth and all the other boys in the band.  But we never got to any poet later than Keats: not Belloc, not Kipling, not Housman.  Not even the poets of the Great War.  I have subsequently read bits of Belloc, Kipling and sundry of the War poets, but I had never, until this week, tried Housman.  I had heard of his Shropshire Lad but had assumed that this was simply his best known poem.


A Shropshire Lad is not A poem, it is a collection (the intelligentsia call it a cycle) of over 60 individual poems which, as far as I have so far been able to tell, are all written as if by a young man from that county.  Mayhap I've not yet read sufficient, but what I have read so far seem rather melancholic.  Like this, possibly one of the better known:
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
I don't think I have ever been to Shropshire, which is rather a pity as I understand it is a county of glorious countryside.

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