Here is another poem by A. E. Housman which is in my personal store of poems to fall back on. As ever, what I know of his life is hard to separate from his poetry and in this poem his sense of injustice at the view of homosexuality held by society at large, influenced by an intolerant church, is to the fore.
The Carpenter’s Son
“Oh, at home had I but stayed
‘Prenticed to my father’s trade,
Had I stuck to plane and adze,
I had not been lost, my lads.
“Then I might have built perhaps
Gallows-trees for other chaps,
Never dangled on my own,
Had I left but ill alone.
“Now, you see, they hang me high,
And the people passing by
Stop to shake their fists and curse;
So ’tis come from ill to worse.
“Here hang I, and right and left
Two poor fellows hang for theft:
All the same’s the luck we prove,
Though the midmost hangs for love.
“Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
Walk henceforth in other ways;
See my neck and save your own:
Comrades all, leave ill alone.
“Make some day a decent end,
Shrewder fellows than your friend.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live lads, and I will die.”
A. E. Housman
Many of the poem’s of A.E. Housman are in my hinterland. What’s in yours?