Monday, April 11, 2011

Louis MacNeice Said This (Snow)

The Rose in Snow photo by Amalie Issa

Louis MacNeice

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
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE (12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963) was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis; nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco (1946). His body of work was widely appreciated by the public during his lifetime, due in part to his relaxed, but socially and emotionally aware style. Never as overtly (or simplistically) political as some of his contemporaries, his work shows a humane opposition to totalitarianism as well as an acute awareness of his Irish roots. MacNeice was an alcoholic. Wiki says that he "lived on alcohol" (instead of eating) in his last years and he died young of bronchitis that evolved into viral pneumonia after an extended exposure to a storm on the moor.

Louis MacNeice Said This

God, how you said it,
There is more than glass between
The sides of the world.

There is snow falling
And on this side, pink roses
Display, arguing
Suddenly against
The outer cold white snowflakes
While I eat my fruit.

How you said all that
Is a flaming bubbling pot
Deep in my true soul.

Written January 03, 2009 8:41 PM
First Posted, May 18, 2009


  1. hear, hear! so very unique and hitting writing, breaking down barriers, even while pointing them out.

    i should like to die drunk on the moor.


  2. On the other hand Louis died (probably on the edge of coma) in bed, fighting to breathe, drowning in mucus of his own making that his lungs could no longer expel, after feeling awful for a while.

    He probably felt that it would be good to die drunk on the moor. In fact he may have gotten into that position wishing to die drunk on the moor. Wiki said that he didn't try to warm himself up after being out there like that, I guess repeating what his friends knew.

    My mother died of stroke but the mechanism was failing to breathe. I have had breathing problems off and on my whole life. The chances are high it is how I shall die too, whether it comes from stroke or some other issue.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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