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 the brute reality there is no
     Road that is right entirely.

     Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)

A throwaway mention in a book I’m reading (about which more later) led me to this poem.  Google linked to this essay which brings together MacNeice and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

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