Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Thursday, March 01, 2012

No rubbing out mistakes

I'm engraving a decanter for Stephen's birthday, and there's probably a spot on the glass for a brief poem; which obviously means Housman, but which Housman? There are so many.

I to my perils
Of cheat and charmer
Came clad in armor
By stars benign.
Hope lies to mortals
And most believe her
But man's deceiver
Was never mine.

The thoughts of others
Were light and fleeting,
Of lovers meeting,
Or luck, or fame.
Mine were of trouble,
And mine were steady,
So I was ready
When trouble came.

Probably not: I want that one for myself.

What evil luck soever
For me remains in store,
'Tis sure much finer fellows
Have fared much worse before.

Little is the luck I've had,
And oh, 'tis comfort small
To think that many another lad
Has had no luck at all.

Not quite personal enough.

When first my way to fair I took
Few pence in purse had I,
And long I used to stand and look
At things I could not buy.

Now times are altered: if I care
To buy a thing, I can;
The pence are here and here's the fair,
But where's the lost young man? --

To think that two and two are four
And neither five nor three
The heart of man has long been sore
And long 'tis like to be.

Again, more me.

Stars, I have seen them fall,
 But when they drop and die
No star is lost at all
 From all the star-sown sky.

The toil of all that be
 Helps not the primal fault;
It rains into the sea,
 And still the sea is salt.

Not necessarily a concern of Stephen's.

To stand up straight and tread the turning mill,
To lie flat and know nothing and be still,
Are the two trades of man;
and which is worse I know not,
but I know that both are ill.


When the bells justle in the tower
 The hollow night amid,
Then on my tongue the taste is sour
 Of all I ever did.

Too pointed for folk of our age?

Some can gaze and not be sick,
But I could never learn the trick.
There's this to say for blood and breath,
They give a man a taste for death.

The first two lines, I think. Yes.

Actually, that'd make a good tattoo.

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