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Helen’s Story: ‘A Shropshire Lad’ Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Stories.
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The poem I carry is a very small piece of ‘A Shropshire Lad’ by A E Housman and goes:

Clay lies still, but blood’s a rover;
Breath’s a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey’s over
There’ll be time enough to sleep.

I first read it on a tall ship voyage from Oban to Aberdeen on the Malcolm Miller, where I met my husband to be, John. The message of the poem to me then, and now, is to enjoy life, no matter how exhausting it can be, because we can rest at the end.

Richard’s stories Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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I like carrying poems by different poets in my head for different moods, including (to simplify greatly): Donne for sex; Tennyson for beautiful lines and melancholy; Housman for more melancholy; Auden for thought; Burns for humour and humanity; T S Eliot for elegant precision; Wilfred Owen for empathy; Betjeman for the sense of belonging to a place; Kipling for daring to be different; Wendy Cope for her barbs of satire… That’s probably enough to be going on with 🙂

Benedicta’s story: from ‘A Shropshire Lad’ Wednesday, 25 November 2009

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I’ve chosen a poem which is very dear to my heart. I have an eighty-five-year-old father who learned a lot of poetry by heart when he was young and growing up, and he remembers it wonderfully today. He recites a poem every spring when the cherry trees where he lives come into blossom. It’s a lovely poem by A E Housman:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with snow along the bow,
And stands about the woodland ride,
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now of my threescore years and ten
Twenty will not come again.
And take from seventy Springs a score,
It leaves me only fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty Springs is little room,
About the woodland I will go,
To see the cherry, hung with snow.

Benedicta Page is the associate editor of the Bookseller