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Discussion Forum - Events - Housman, A Worcestershire Lad

Author: Mike Buckley
Posted: Mon 13th Jun 2011, 16:09
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Heart of England
Report on Heart of England evening walk last week: we walked along a part of the Housman Trail, calling at the birthplace of Alfred Edward Housman at Valley House in Fockbury now part of Dodford, passed by Alfred's Well and visited Worm's Ash, the very spot from where the young Alfred gazed westwards at the hills, as did we on our walk. And blue they surely were against the backdrop of the setting sun. They are the Clee Hills.

Alfred walked the fields daily, between his home, and school in Bromsgrove, and must have spent much time lingering over the distant views of hills to the west, for they became the inspiration for much of his poetry; strangely though he had not visited Shropshire at this stage. He had used poetic licence when later in his mind's eye he had recreated the land, in which he had not set foot, by changing names or moving landscapes to enable him to create verse with the power to move to tears. It turns out that as well as being influenced by what he saw he was also affected by personal tragedy and an insecurity which was then illegal if revealed: the first was the loss of his mother on his 13th birthday, when absent from home he received a telegram with news of her death and the second, his unrequited love for another man. As has been the case with other artists, pain and suffering have led to brilliant interpretation.

So there we are, Alfred was a long distance walker, he was born and schooled in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, the Housman Society is based in Bromsgrove and a statue of the man stands in the High Street, Bromsgrove. On our last walk he joined us in spirit as we remembered and gazed at the hills out west, thankyou Housman, thankyou Marches Group, you brought him back to life, a hundred we will never forget, in those blue remembered hills. My turn now...

"He called his book, The poems of Terence Hearsay,
Then changed that to A Shropshire Lad,
But as we all can see,
He was indeed one of ours,
And remains, to this day,
A Worcestershire Lad."

Mike Buckley

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