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Friday poem #6 – A E Housman “On Wenlock Edge”

06 Mar

Bit of a classic today. You may find a generous selection of Housman’s work here together with links to more information.

XXXI
On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
  His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
  And thick on Severn snow the leaves.
 
'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
  When Uricon the city stood:
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
  But then it threshed another wood.
 
Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman
  At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
  The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.
 
There, like the wind through woods in riot,
  Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
  Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.
 
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
  It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
  Are ashes under Uricon.

Patrick White used this as an epigraph to his great novel The Tree of Man.

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Posted by on March 6, 2009 in poets and poetry, writers

 

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