November 20, 2005

Though it is not Spring [Filed under: MacNeice, Louis]

I am a huge fan of MacNeice now. Read this poem out loud. He is a poet who has such a mastery over sounds that I often care very little about his themes – though they are nothing to sneeze at, either. (It is almost embarrasing to love a poem so much that has “sunshine” in the title.)

Spring Sunshine

In a between world, a world of amber,
The old cat, on the sand-warm window-sill
Sleeps on the verge of nullity.

Spring sunshine has a quality
Transcending rooks and the hammerings
Of those who hang new pictures,
Asking if it is worth it
To clamour and caw, to add stick to stick for ever.

If it is worth while really
To colonize any more the already populous
Tree of knowledge, to portion and reportion
Bits of broken knowledge brittle and dead,
Whether it would not be better
To hide one’s head in the warm sand of sleep
And be buried without hustle or bother.

The rooks bicker heckle bargain always
And market carts lumber–
Let me, in the calm of the all-humouring sun
Also indulge my humour
And bury myself beyond creaks and cawings
In a below world, a bottom world of amber.

By far the most impressive part of this, for me, are the lines: The rooks bicker heckle bargain always/And market carts lumber–

The Poet of Ceder St. [Filed under: Carrier, Warren.General Discussion]

Never mind the long silence, I have enjoyed Hoke’s posts and thoughts on Nietzsche. I plan to take some time with him and his solitudes and renunciations.

I have recently been spending some evenings with a fine poet named Warren Carrier, father of Wintry-Minded Ethan. Conversations with him have inspired me to try again to memorize poems – an effort that I was rather serious about for a time right after graduating St. Johns. My plan is to memorize one from each poet who I admire. Perhaps, as my view of each poet changes, I will switch to a new poem of theirs… Plans, plans, treacherous plans.

I want to post two poems to commemorate my new resolve. One from Warren (which I have not yet tried to memorize) and one from Louis MacNeice, which I have. I’ll post the MacNeice separately in case anyone wants to comment on one poem and not the other.


He gazed beyond the rocky edge where turning
maples stretched for miles, particulars
of his mind, a village, a white spire.
Above the turquoise atmosphere, an unseen
gravity held all light within itself,
burst like a melon, scattering galaxies.
He thought of the momentary hues of maples,
of human generations, the same, and never
the same, of randomness, of order as change.
The black that cracked into its separate stars,
bloomed from bent and distant light, had come
to this: himself here, gazing and musing,
maples the tint of the sun, a village of beings
unseen under leaves, their immaculate spire.