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.)
by Louis MacNeice
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–
One response to “Though it is not Spring”
We’ve been having a bit of spring-like weather in the midst of winter here—almost a heat wave of sorts, postponing all my plans for ice-skating excursions—and I have been reading this poem rather regularly for several days. It’s not helping my motivation to do my school work at all, but I have enjoyed immensely a few rays of sunshine. I don’t know why the world of amber to which he retreats is “a below world, a bottom world”, except to the extent he is contemplating burying himself below the hustle and bother, napping in the spring sun. I think the most striking linguistic aspect of this poem to me is his use of the word “humour” near the end. It was precisely the right word to use.