19 August 2012

A Dance to the Music of Time

A Dance to the Music of Time, Nicholas Poussin, ca. 1638.

August à la Poussin

                  by Louis MacNeice

The shutter of time darkening ceaselessly
Has whisked away the foam of may and elder
And I realise how now, as every year before,
Once agan the gay months have eluded me.

For the mind, by nature stagey, welds its frame
Tomblike around each little world of a day;
We jump from picture to picture and cannot follow
The living curve that is breathlessly the same.

While the lawn-mower sings moving up and down
Spirting its little fountain of vivid green,
I, like Poussin, make a still-bound fête of us
Suspending every noise, of insect or machine.

Garlands at a set angle that do not slip
Theatrically (and as if forever) grace
You and me and the stone god in the garden
And Time who also is shown with a stone face.

But all this is a dilettante’s lie.
Timés face is not stone nor still his wings,
Our mind, being dead, wishes to have time die
For we being ghosts cannot catch hold of things.

No comments:

Post a Comment

No Anonymous comments, please.