Is My Team Ploughing? - Poem by gershon hepner
“Is my team ploughing? ” Housman used to ask,
fondly hoping that the place where he’d
be buried would be where men’s fondest task
would be to dig into his verse, and read.
“The horses trample, ” so he would predict,
“the land I used to plough.” No man controls
the future, and few poets dare depict
a life without a reader who consoles.
Inspired by a poem from A. E. Housman’s “A Shropshire Lad” which Thomas Hardy described as his favorite Housman poem, and Housman agreed:
'Is my team ploughing,
That I was used to drive
And hear the harness jingle
When I was man alive? '
Ay, the horses trample,
The harness jingles now;
No change though you lie under
The land you used to plough.
'Is football playing
Along the river shore,
With lads to chase the leather,
Now I stand up no more? '
Ay, the ball is flying,
The lads play heart and soul;
The goal stands up, the keeper
Stands up to keep the goal.
'Is my girl happy,
That I thought hard to leave,
And has she tired of weeping
As she lies down at eve? '
Ay, she lies down lightly,
She lies not down to weep,
Your girl is well contented.
Be still, my lad, and sleep.
'Is my friend hearty,
Now I am thin and pine,
And has he found to sleep in
A better bed than mine? '
Yes, lad, I lie easy,
I lie as lads would choose;
I cheer a dead man's sweetheart,
Never ask me whose.
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