Thursday, September 20, 2012

Today's poem by AE Housman

When summer's end is nighing
  And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
  And all the feats I vowed
  When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
  Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
  That looked to Wales away
  And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
  The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
  And hushed the countryside,
  But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
  In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
  And darkness hard at hand,
  And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
  The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
  Breathed from beyond the snows,
  And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
  And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
  That ever can ensue
  Must now be worse and few.

So here's an end of roaming
  On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
  For summer's parting sighs,
  And then the heart replies.

AE Housman (1859-1936)
Poem untitled - XXXIX
from Last Poems, 1922


  1. Nan, I've never been much of a poetry fan, and a friend who is a Princeton professor is always telling me how much I miss. Well, thanks to you, I'm actually enjoying the poetry you post and thinking maybe I'll try reading some more.

    1. Thank you. That means so, so much to me. Really.

  2. Hey Nan,

    Don't appreciate much poetry really but enjoyed this. A man's poem.

    1. Wow! I'm delighted that you liked it, and left a note. Man's and woman's, methinks.

  3. This is the time of year for contemplation. Wonderful poem.

    1. Yes, it is. Without me even really noticing, I'm finding that in myself. This one is definitely contemplative.

  4. Lovely poem - AE Housman one of my favourite poets, but this one I don't remember! Thankyou.

    And what beautiful apples!

  5. I haven't read any AE Housman in a long time. Thanks for reminding me what a very wonderful poet he was. Sometimes in life, we just don't make time to read poetry and we should, so thank you for providing us those moment of enjoyment each time you post a new poet and poem.

    1. What a nice thing to say. I do find that reading a poem slows me down, and makes me really think/feel in a way nothing else does.

  6. As he was 63 when he wrote this, he already had a glimmer of ageing. The autumn of his years is evident. Beautiful insight.

    1. And I'm a year older, so I totally get it. :<) Though not as sad as he is, I think.

  7. The addition of a fifth line to every stanza gives each one a heavier finality (it's a brilliant technique - better I think than if he'd used quatrains). Thanks for showing us this poem. I'm not familiar with Housman's work, only "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now."

    1. It is brilliant, you are so right. It's fun to look at just those lines too. We see the young and proud - youth and pride. Saw the last - the eye lost. Do these things come without the poets' knowledge, do you think? I kind of hope so.


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