A Short Analysis of A. E. Housman’s ‘When the bells justle in the tower’

Interesting Literature

A reading of a haunting short poem

‘When the bells justle in the tower’ is a short poem comprising a single quatrain, written by the poet A. E. Housman (1859-1936) although not published until after his death, when it appeared in Additional Poems in 1939. W. H. Auden admired the poem. It was described by Housman editor and critic Christopher Ricks as the best thing Housman ever wrote.

When the bells justle in the tower
The hollow night amid,
Then on my tongue the taste is sour
Of all I ever did.

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My church has no wall my church has no roof, birds of freedom fly through, so many stars shine inside, my church has neither doors nor stained glass windows, it is the Lifeblood of Spring, the golden paintings of Fall. As simple as a mountain flower, as strong as a mother, my church is wider than […]

via My Church — WORDS IN THE LIGHT

Tasos Livaditis

 Tasos Livaditis_Vanilla



Και τα τζάμια με τις πεθαμένες μύγες το φθινόπωρο, σαν τις

μεγάλες σελίδες των βιβλίων, τότε που δεν ξέραμε ακόμα να


Κύριε, εξήγησέ μας.





And the windows with the dead flies in the autumn like the long

pages of books when we didn’t yet know how to read

Lord, explain to us.





Yannis Ritsos

Ritsos_front large




Μιά ολόκληρη μέρα ταξιδεύαμε σέ ακρογιαλιές ξεχασμένες.

Βάρκες, κολυμβητές, ένα κόκκινο ορόσημο, μιά γυμνή γυναίκα,

ο εσκαφέας τυλιγμένος σ’ ένα μεγάλο κατάλευκο νάιλον,

ένα ξενοδοχείο μέ περιστύλιο κάτω απ’ τά δέντρα. Τό κίτρινο πουλί

κοίταξε αλλού, χάθηκε, η σκιά του καρφώθηκε στό δρόμο. Τότε

φάνηκαν στάλες από αίμα στή μαρμάρινη σκάλα. Η γυναίκα

είχε τρομάξει. Τά παιδιά φωνάζανε κάτω στή θάλασσα. Κούραση κι έρωτας.

Ώσπου ήρθε τό βράδυ μέ ήσυχα φώτα σέ παράθυρα καί πλοία

μέσα σέ μιά βαθιά ελαφρότητα κάπως θλιμμένη, χορτασμένη

από γαλάζιο τίποτα.





One whole day we traveled in deserted seashores.

Boats, swimmers, a red landmark, a naked woman,

the excavator wrapped in a large snow white nylon,

a hotel with a colonnade under the trees. The yellow bird

looked elsewhere; it vanished; its shadow nailed on the road. Then

drops of blood appeared on the marble staircase. The woman

was frightened. The children shouted by the sea. Love-making and tiredness.

Until evening came with faint lights to windows and ships

amid a deep, somehow sad lightness, contented by the blue void.



YANNIS RITSOS — POEMS, Ekstasis Editions, 2013

ΓΙΑΝΝΗ ΡΙΤΣΟΥ — Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη