Two Poems for March

Just time to post a couple of poems today, both of them to do with the month of March. I posted my absolute favourite poem about March around this time last year.

This is one by A.E. Housman, and is taken from his collection A Shropshire Lad.

The sun at noon to higher air,
Unharnessing the silver Pair
That late before his chariot swam,
Rides on the gold wool of the Ram.

So braver notes the storm-cock sings
To start the rusted wheel of things,
And brutes in field and brutes in pen
Leap that the world goes round again.

The boys are up the woods with day
To fetch the daffodils away,
And home at noonday from the hills
They bring no dearth of daffodils.

Afield for palms the girls repair,
And sure enough the palms are there,
And each will find by hedge or pond
Her waving silver-tufted wand.

In farm and field through all the shire
The eye beholds the heart’s desire;
Ah, let not only mine be vain,
For lovers should be loved again.

And the second is by Emily Dickinson

Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat–
You must have walked–
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the birds’;
The maples never knew
That you were coming,–I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me–
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.

8 Responses to “Two Poems for March”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Good old Housman, the poet of my adopted county (although it is clear that his setting is south Shropshire, much wilder than the north where I am, because the last ice sheet didn’t smooth off the south so much). Shropshire Lad was favourite reading of English officers in the trenches of World War I, it is said. It is all about young men, despair and death in a rural English landscape, and intensely elegaic. Housman himself was a Cambridge and London classics don, homosexual, and an incisive literary critic. He is easy to parody but had a sense of humour, congratulating the composer of “What! Still alive at 22? A fine upstanding lad like you…” Anybody who saw the film Walkabout and remembers the heartbreaking poem spoken over the ending scene, set a few years ahead where Jenny Agutter has settled for a conventional llife of dull materialism, will recognise his power. (It is poem 40, “Into my heart and air that kills” from Shropshire Lad, with the famous line “the land of lost content”.) Many people regard the following as his finest poem, and I would not dissent:

    http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~martinh/poems/complete_housman.html#LPxl

    Anton

  2. telescoper Says:

    Anton,

    The phrase “blue remembered hills” is the one that sticks in my memory

    Peter

    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

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Indeed. Parts of Shropshire Lad, notably On Wenlock Edge, were set to music by Vaughan Williams. That poem is about a storm, and in later verses Housman, a classicist, considers that the weather would have been just as bad when the Romans occupied the area. Uriconium, their third city in England, is just outside Shrewsbury and there are some impressively large remains.
    Anton

    • telescoper Says:

      I listened last night to a version of “On Wenlock Edge”, sung by Phillip Langridge who sadly died on Friday aged 70.

  4. telescoper Says:

    Talking about Housman parodies (which we weren’t), here’s one of mine:

    About the woodlands I did go
    And saw the cherry hung with snow
    So then I went down to the pub
    And drank a pint and ate some grub

  5. […] Two Poems for March « In the DarkJust time to post a couple of poems today, both of them to do with the month of March. I posted my absolute favourite poem about March … […]

  6. i lyke the first poem better the second one dnt rhyme i kno all poems dnt rhyme but i stil lyke da first one betta srry

  7. listener Says:

    The first set to music by David Downes in ‘The Rusted Wheel of Things’

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