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Alfred Edward Housman is, without doubt, my most cherished poet. He published only two books of poems, A Shropshire Lad and Last Poems and yet many of us know his beautiful, balanced, evocative verse without knowing anything about him.
Here his words that could apply to Syria or Afghanistan or Yemen or a child in Mosul whilst we are safe in our illusions:
They say my verse is sad: no wonder;
Its narrow measure spans
Tears of eternity, and sorrow,
Not mine, but man’s.
This is for all ill-treated fellows
Unborn and unbegot,
For them to read when they are in trouble
And I am not.
. . and here on the beauty that surrounds us that we so often take for granted.
Loveliest of Trees
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my three score years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.