Overshadowed during his lifetime by the virtuoso achievements of his close friend W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice has recently begun to receive the attention he deserves for his command of poetic craft and clear-headed depictions of a murky world. Born in Belfast, Ireland and educated at Oxford, MacNeice came of age with his 1939 volume Autumn Journal. For many years a radio dramatist and producer for the BBC, he was also a distinguished translator of Greek and German literary classics.
More By This Poet
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
Time was away and somewhere else,
There were two glasses and two chairs
And two people with the one pulse
(Somebody stopped the moving stairs):
Time was away and somewhere else.
And they were neither up nor down;
The stream’s music did not stop
Flowing through heather,...
If we could get the hang of it entirely
It would take too long;
All we know is the splash of words in passing
And falling twigs of song,
And when we try to eavesdrop on the great
Presences it is rarely
That by a stroke...