Louis Macneice

(12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963 / Belfast)

The Sunlight on the Garden


The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Aditi Chaturvedi (1/27/2005 12:48:00 PM)

    this poem truly passes the 'housman test' se who don't kno, ae housman said that when he read true poetry even the hairs on his arm would stand up coz of thr thrill...and this poem truly has that physical reaction. each line shakes me not just mentally and emotionally, but also at a physical level...its just so beautiful and shaking. (Report) Reply

  • Reese Ella Howard (10/17/2004 5:55:00 AM)

    This poem gives me actual chills on a physical level. Why did the poet have to die so young? Was he one of those who are just too good for this world? (Report) Reply

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