Friday Poem: 'Into my heart an air that kills'

A Friday Poem from A.E.Housman.

This poem, taken from A. E. Housman's collection The Shropshire Lad, explores the idea of nostalgia and growing old, and was the inspiration for the tragic and touching Dennis Potter play, Blue Remembered Hills.

Into my heart an air that kills

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.

A Shropshire Lad

Book cover for A Shropshire Lad

Evocative of ‘the blue remembered hills’ of his youth, Alfred Edward Housman’s A Shropshire Lad is a collection of sixty-three poems of extraordinary beauty and feeling. Set in a semi-imaginary pastoral Shropshire, Housman’s verse considers the helplessness of man, the fragility of life and the terrible effects of war, against the background of an achingly beautiful countryside.

Inspirational for generations of readers, A Shropshire Lad, with its sweeping themes of youth and love, has found its way into the canon of English folksong and has been set to music by composers George Butterworth, John Ireland and Ralph Vaughan Williams.