Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Flight of the Heart

 After writing my last post, I remembered this poem, which I have known for at least 45 years.  Reading it again today, I can see how, in a very few words, it has summed up my life to date.  I offer it without further comment beyond observing that MacNeice is possibly one of the greatest but most under-appreciated poets in English of the 20th Century

Heart, my heart, what will you do?
There are five lame dogs and one deaf-mute
All of them with demands on you.

   I will build myself a copper tower
   With four ways our and no way in
   But mine the glory, mine the power.

And what if the tower should shake and fall
With three sharp taps and one big bang?
What would you do with yourself at all?

   I would go in the cellar and drink the dark
   With two quick sips and one long pull,
   Drunk as a lord and gay as a lark.

But what when the cellar roof caves in
With one blue flash and nine old bones?
How, my heart, will you save your skin?

   I will go back where I belong
  With one foot first and both eyes blind
   I will go back where I belong
   In the fore-being of mankind.

Louis MacNeice  (1907-63)

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