Sunday, January 07, 2007

A stem that scored the hand

I'm home from church this morning, sick. While tidying up my computer files I came across this poem that I had saved from someplace I can't remember. A satisfying mixture of pessimism, wisdom and hope.

“...Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
I’d face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
’Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the smack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head
When your soul is in my soul’s stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day...”

-A. E. Housman
A Shropshire Lad