killclaudio: (Autumn)
[personal profile] killclaudio
It's the first of September! Today is my favourite day of the year. I don't know why. It's my favourite day, dammit, I don't need a reason.

In honour of this, have a poem! Well, some of a poem. An extract from Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice. With thanks to Rosamunde Pilcher, who first pointed out to me how wonderful MacNeice is.

September has come, it is hers,
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fire-place;
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy;
Who has left a scent on my life and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow,
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
And all of London littered with remembered kisses.
So I am glad
That life contains her with her moods and moments
More shifting and more transient than I had
Yet thought of as being integral to beauty;
Whose mind is like the wind on a sea of wheat,
Whose eyes are candour,
And assurance in her feet,
Like a homing pigeon never by doubt diverted.
To whom I send my thanks
That the air has become shot silk, the streets are music,
And that the ranks
Of men are ranks of men, no more of cyphers.
So that if now alone
I must pursue this life, it will not be only
A drag from numbered stone to numbered stone
But a ladder of angels, river turning tidal.
Off-hand, at times hysterical, abrupt,
You are one I always shall remember,
Whom cant can never corrupt
Nor argument disinherit.
Frivolous, always in a hurry, forgetting the address,
Frowning too often, taking enormous notice
Of hats and backchat - how could I assess
The thing that makes you different?
You whom I remember glad or tired,
Smiling in drink or scintillating anger,
Inopportunely desired
On boats, on trains, on roads when walking.
Sometimes untidy, often elegant,
So easily hurt, so readily responsive,
To whom a trifle could be an irritant
Or could be balm and manna.
Whose words would tumble over each other and pelt
From pure excitement,
Whose fingers curl and melt
When you were friendly.
I shall remember you in bed with bright
Eyes or in a cafe stirring coffee
Abstractedly and on your plate the white
Smoking stub your lips had touched with crimson.
And I shall remember how your words could hurt
Because they were so honest
And even your lies were able to assert
Integrity of purpose.

There's also a poem I've been trying to find by MacNeice, about music and memory. It goes something like;

The same tunes hang on pegs in the cloakrooms of our minds
As fitted us ten or twenty or thirty years ago
On occasions of love or grief.

That's about all I can remember, although the ending went something like

Each tune, each cloak, if matched to weather and mood
Wears well, and off-the-peg means made-to-measure now.

I used to have a copy, but I think it's in one of the books I left at my parents' house. If anyone remembers the poem or knows where I can find it, I'd be eternally grateful. *bats eyelashes*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-09-01 05:10 pm (UTC)
ext_3554: dream wolf (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Happy favorite day!

And ... wow ... the imagery in that poem is amazing. I feel like I know the woman, and the mark she left on him.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-09-01 06:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Isn't it lovely? I am attempting to convert everyone I know to Louis MacNeice fans. *plots*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-09-01 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Always good to have a poet recced, thanks - will look out for him when I go book shopping tomorrow. The poetry book I've been waiting months for finally arrived the other day which made me happy. This coming week is definitely *not* going to be my favourite of the year so it's lovely to have beautiful little chunks of poetry which can just float gently round my head and calm me.
Also - happy irrational favourite day!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-09-01 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! And I'd forgotten, it's back to school for the little horrors children soon, isn't it? You must be rushed off your feet preparing. *crosses fingers for you*

Which book of poetry did you buy?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-09-02 09:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's not so much that the children are coming back but that the builders don't seem to have finished building my classroom yet. My hopes aren't high for when they do - my friend (whose classroom is slightly less not-finished than mine)has a cupboard that locks from the inside! We are *baffled* by this.

The book I got is First Fig and other poems by Edna St Vincent Millay. I heard an interesting programme about her on the radio several months ago and ordered a book on amazon after failing to find anything in the local shops. Then I re-read 'Busted', got to the Christmas bit and thought "'s her!"

In a week where I am bound to make even more mistakes than usual I find something subversively comforting and uplifting about Second Fig -

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-09-02 10:12 am (UTC)
luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)
From: [personal profile] luzula
I like.

*appreciates the poetry-spamming*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-09-03 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good good! *resolves to do it more often*


killclaudio: (Default)

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