Louis MacNeice

I was reminded of this poem when someone said something about a wolf today.  I used to be obsessed with this poem, and MacNeice, once writing a long paper on him as a ‘vehicular poet.’  In trying to recite this again today, five years after memorizing it, I realized that I forgot a line or two and thus leave it fully here for you:

I do not want to be reflective any more

envying and despising unreflective things

finding pathos in dogs and undeveloped handwriting

and young girls doing their hair and all the castles of sand

flushed by the children’s bedtime, level with the shore.


The tide comes in and goes out again, I do not want

to be always stressing either its flux or its permanence,

I do not want to be a tragic or philosophic chorus

but to keep my eye only on the nearer future

and after that let the sea flow over us.


Come then all of you, come closer, form a circle,

join hands and make believe that joined

hands will keep away the wolves of water

who howl along our coast.  And be it assumed

that no one hears them among the talk and laughter.


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