Posted by: Jennie Pollock | August 7, 2010

…And in the end, to dance

None of our hearts are pure, we always have mixed motives,
Are self deceivers, but the worst of all
Deceits is to murmur ‘Lord, I am not worthy’
And, lying easy, turn your face to the wall.
But may I cure the habit, look up and outwards
And may my feet follow my wider glance
First no doubt to stumble, then walk with the others
And in the end – with time and luck – to dance.
                                 Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal iii

Autumn Journal is a book of poems, written between August and December 1938. I’d heard of it before, but was reminded of its closing lines (which may well form a later Saturday Quote) again recently; they were printed in the programme notes of After the Dance, which I reviewed here, and about which I’m still raving.

MacNeice captures so poignantly the feeling of that autumn – when everyone knew the war was coming and was trying to figure out how to function in the long, bustling waiting room before it hit.  I didn’t live through it, obviously, but people who did resonate with his words, and they are still powerful and haunting now.

I don’t have anything to add to the lines above. If they say something to you, well and good, if not, that’s OK too.

Have a good weekend.


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