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Saturday, September 14, 2019

We All Use Language 'Poetically'

“Everyone is not able, or inclined, to write poetry in the narrower sense any more than everyone is qualified to take part in a walking race. But just as all of us can and do walk, so all of us can and do use language poetically.” – Louis MacNeice

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on this date in 1907, MacNeice was a popular poet and playwright in his relatively short lifetime (he died at age 55).  He authored 22 books of poetry, a dozen plays, 2 novels and several non-fiction books, including a highly regarded book of criticism Varieties of Parable (published posthumously).     His autobiographical long poem Autumn Journal – written to record his state of mind from time immersed in the Spanish Civil War and his belief that another World War was inevitable – is considered his poetic masterpiece.    

 For Saturday’s Poem, here is MacNeice’s,

Sunlight On The Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

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