‘Stars, I have seen them fall’: A Poem by A. E. Housman

Interesting Literature

‘Stars, I have seen them fall…’: this short eight-line poem by A. E. Housman (1859-1936) is untitled, so we’ve given its first line here. Although the stars seem to fall, they remain in the sky; although rain falls into the sea, the sea remains the same saltwater it has always been. Housman’s poem is about futility, and offers a less celebratory take on the stars in the night sky than the one we tend to get from much (especially Romantic) poetry.

Stars, I have seen them fall,
But when they drop and die
No star is lost at all
From all the star-sown sky.
The toil of all that be
Helps not the primal fault;

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