On this blog, the 26th of March is Frost-Housman day - the day on which both Robert Frost (1874) and A.E. Housman (1859) were born. Last year I posted Frost's Spring Pools and Housman's Loveliest of Trees. This year's pair of poems both pay tribute to other poets.
In Robert Frost's To E.T, he honours his brother in verse ('Edward Thomas was the only brother I had'), a man as vital to his own flowering as a poet as he was to Thomas's, and a friend with whom he had once been so close that Thomas seriously considered throwing in his lot with him and emigrating with his family to New Hampshire. But instead he went to war...
And here is A.E. Housman, taking his cue from Robert Louis Stevenson's famous Requiem, fashioning an austerely beautiful lyric...
Home is the sailor, home from sea:
Her far-borne canvas furled
The ship pours shining on the quay
The plunder of the world.
Home is the hunter from the hill:
Fast in the boundless snare
All flesh lies taken at his will
And every fowl of air.
'Tis evening on the moorland free,
The starlit wave is still:
Home is the sailor from the sea,
The hunter from the hill.
This was not the only poem to spin off from Stevenson' Requiem; Philip Larkin took the line 'This be the verse' as the title of his most notorious work.