Featured Poem: I Stood on a Tower by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Although a few days early, here’s something to read as the New Year comes round. It was written on New Year’s Eve 1865 and encapsulates that tumultuous sense of ‘change’ – be it perceived good or bad – that often pervades this period. Standing on a tower, the poet speaker is given a vantage point that allows him to look to both the year that is ending and the one that is beginning. Time flows, things pass and there will always be questions left unanswered. The imagery in this poem is fairly rough; the winds of change are not gentle here but “roaring and blowing”, as life itself can be. Brace yourselves for 2009…

I Stood on a Tower

I stood on a tower in the wet,
And New Year and Old Year met,
And winds were roaring and blowing;
And I said, ‘O years, that meet in tears,
Have you all that is worth the knowing?
Science enough and exploring,
Wanderers coming and going,
Matter enough for deploring,
But aught that is worth the knowing?
Seas at my feet were flowing,
Waves on the shingle pouring,
Old year roaring and blowing,
And New Year blowing and roaring.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Posted by Jen Tomkins

2 thoughts on “Featured Poem: I Stood on a Tower by Alfred, Lord Tennyson”

  1. I have just come across this poem in a book (Poem for the Day 2, foreward by Andrew Motion – Pub. Chatto & Windus) and have now also found it on this site. Line 5 in the book reads as the original above with the word ‘all’ being correct, rather than ‘ought’ as suggested by Amy.

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