A Mad Weir of Tigerish Waters


If we could get the hang of it entirely

   It would take too long;

All we know is the splash of words in passing   

   And falling twigs of song,

And when we try to eavesdrop on the great   

   Presences it is rarely

That by a stroke of luck we can appropriate   

   Even a phrase entirely.
If we could find our happiness entirely

   In somebody else’s arms

We should not fear the spears of the spring nor the city’s

   Yammering fire alarms

But, as it is, the spears each year go through

   Our flesh and almost hourly   

Bell or siren banishes the blue   

   Eyes of Love entirely.
And if the world were black or white entirely

   And all the charts were plain

Instead of a mad weir of tigerish waters,

   A prism of delight and pain,

We might be surer where we wished to go   

   Or again we might be merely

Bored but in brute reality there is no

   Road that is right entirely.

~ Louis MacNeice (1907–1963)


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