A Shropshire Lad
Houseman's work remains the indispensable guide to the personal growth of a young man in the world that existed before the tragedy of the First World War.
This growth is seen to have its vital parallel in the relentless onward march of the seasons, with their peculiar and inexorable duties and demands on those who worked the soil.
"Life goes on" is the fierce motto of the work; perhaps this message is most starkly manifest in "Is My Team A-Ploughing?": the subject of the poem is the spirit of the recently-dead young man whose plough-team must continue tilling the ground if people are to eat, but, more brutally, his spirit is compelled to witness to his bereaved beloved lying down - not to weep but to make love - in the necessary process of building a new life for herself.