“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
The above poem, by Houseman first appeared in “A Shropshire Lad”, however it has been much anthologised and can be found in a number of anthologies including “The New Oxford Book of English Verse”, edited by Helen Gardner. In the poem Houseman looks back with nostalgia to a golden childhood in the countty of Shropshire. It was a glorious time but can not be recreated. We can not after all put back the clock and retrace our steps to an earlier bygone age.
The poem is poignant and touches the heart. Most of us have a tendency to (rightly or wrongly) romanticise our childhood, to remember the happy aspects and to forget or, at least downplay the sorrows of our younger years. Even if one makes allowance for the fact that Houseman may be looking at his childhood through rose tinted spectacles the poemm does, nevertheless still touch the heart.