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i need help with poem

"Is my team plowing,
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 plow.

"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.
- A.E. Housman

i not understand it. the only thing i get that the rhyme be ABCB, but i not know if there be any poetic devices in this, i guess it be narrative also.

  • English -

    What do these two lines tell you about the speaker in this poem?

    When I was man alive?

    I cheer a dead man's sweetheart

  • English -

    someone be dead

  • English -

    Yes -- the speaker is dead.

    We are "hearing" a dead man reflect on many parts of his life.

    lines 1-4 = when he was a young man plowing his own fields with his team of horses or oxen

    lines 9-12 = when he was a young man and used to play football with his friends

    lines 17-20 = when he's remembering his sweetheart and hopes she has quit crying for him and rests more easily at night

    What can you say for each of the other 4-line stanzas?

  • English -

    but last stanza be

    Yes, lad, I lie easy,
    I lie as lads would choose;
    I cheer a dead man's sweetheart,
    Never ask me whose.

    i thought he be having conversation with someone else in poem that be dead.

  • English -

    It is definitely a conversation, yes. The stanzas in quotation marks are the dead man speaking, and the others are someone else answering him. And yes, in that last stanza, we learn that the other person is also a dead man, one of his friends in life who may have died before he did.

    And that last part is supposed to be somewhat humorous. I think it's a hint that the other dead guy had liked the first dead guy's sweetheart, but never told her when they were all alive.

  • English -

    This is a VERY good webpage to help students find their way through a poem:

    You don't have to follow ALL the steps, but try to follow as many as you can.

    When it says "who is the speaker" -- well, there are two speakers in this -- the guy whose words are in quotation marks (and apparently he died more recently) and the second guy who is either still alive (<~~my choice) or has been dead a while -- but they knew each other when both were alive.

  • English -

    thanks writeacher my one friend put for that, that this poem be conversation between farmer and narrator(poet) who both be best friends.

  • English -

    Oh, excellent!!

    Yes, and remember that with poetry, the reader is always free to bring his or her own interpretations out in the open! It's like paintings or sculptures -- yes, the artist had his/her own ideas when the artwork was being created, but we as viewers get to bring our own feelings and experiences into our understanding of it.

  • English -

    thanks very much Writeacher i not find any poetic devices in poem.

  • English -

    I don't either. There's 1) the rhyme scheme, 2) the two-part conversation, and 3) the organization into alternating 4-line stanzas with every other stanza being the words of the dead man (the stanzas in quotation marks).

  • English -

    thanks very much writeacher :)

  • English -

    Well ...

    In this line, the word "leather" is a substitute for the football itself -- could be synecdoche ( ):

    With lads to chase the leather,

  • English -

    You're very welcome, Mohammad.


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