Poem of the day

“When smoke stood up from Ludlow”
by Alfred Edward Houseman (1859-1936)

When smoke stood up from Ludlow,
      And mist blew off from Teme,
And blithe afield to ploughing
      Against the morning beam
      I strode beside my team,

The blackbird in the coppice
      Looked out to see me stride,
And hearkened as I whistled
      The trampling team beside,
      And fluted and replied:

“Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
      What use to rise and rise?
Rise man a thousand mornings
      Yet down at last he lies,
      And then the man is wise.”

I heard the tune he sang me,
      And spied his yellow bill;
I picked a stone and aimed it
      And threw it with a will:
      Then the bird was still.

Then my soul within me
      Took up the blackbird’s strain,
And still beside the horses
      Along the dewy lane
      It sang the song again:

“Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
      The sun moves always west;
The road one treads to labour
      Will lead one home to rest,
      And that will be the best.”

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