I Hoed and Trenched and Weeded by A.E. Housman

No one has ever written better about depression, futility, and ending it all than A.E. Housman. (internal link)

All of us question the Meaning of Life at times and wonder whether it is worth going on.

Housman’s heartbroken or doomed characters argue bitterly and resentfully and eloquently that it is not.

This rarely heard point of view is strongly discouraged and censured. You must go on. Life gets better.


Housman’s popularity rests with giving poetic and powerful voice to the darker thoughts that all of us have but cannot express in words. At least, not in public.

From A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman (1859–1936)


I Hoed and Trenched and Weeded

I hoed and trenched and weeded,
And took the flowers to fair:
I brought them home unheeded;
The hue was not the wear.

So up and down I sow them
For lads like me to find,
When I shall lie below them,
A dead man out of mind.

Some seed the birds devour,
And some the season mars,
But here and there will flower
The solitary stars.

And fields will yearly bear them
As light-leaved spring comes on,
And luckless lads will wear them
When I am dead and gone.


About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
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