A.E. Housman, Nos. X and XI from “More Poems”

hullabaloo

X

The weeping Pleiads wester,
  And the moon is under seas;
From bourn to bourn of midnight
  Far sighs the rainy breeze:

It sighs from a lost country
  To a land I have not known;
The weeping Pleiads wester,
  And I lie down alone.

XI

The rainy Pleiads wester,
  Orion plunges prone;
The stroke of midnight ceases,
  And I lie down alone.

The rainy Pleiads wester
  And seek beyond the sea
The head that I shall dream of,
  And ’twill not dream of me.

* * *

Ah, Mr. Housman, so formal, so sorrowful, so beautiful. Iambic trimeter, with every other line starting with the first having an added half-beat at the end. Leaves you hanging on, leaves you unfulfilled and wanting resolution. This is how meter really works for you if you let it.

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