Tag Archives: nature

On Reading A Book About Poetic Craft

Render words
About poetic craft

Am I daft
To seek
For knowledge in a book
When I could upon nature look
And hear the birds speak?


“The Sigh That Heaves The Grasses” By A E Housman

The sigh that heaves the grasses
Whence thou wilt never rise
Is of the air that passes
And knows not if it sighs.

The diamond tears adorning
Thy low mound on the lea,
Those are the tears of morning,
That weeps, but not for thee.

I like the unsentimental nature of this poem. As with much of Housman’s verse, there is no sentimentality here. Some poets attribute human qualaties to the natural world. Not so Housman. In “The Sigh That Heaves The Grasses”, the forces of nature: (the air and the dew), have no awareness of themselves, nor of the dead who sleeps in the “low mound on the lea” The morning dew resembles human tears shed for the dead, but it is not (and can not) be so, for the dew is not human.


It is cold.
Should I be bold
And go outside?
Or like a tortoise, hibernate?
I can not decide.

It is late
In the year.
A thought most drear
Does take
Hold .
Not all tortoises awake
From the cold.
I pray
For a spring day.