Tuesday, 3 February 2009


Writing on the snow

The current climatic challenge provides an opportunity to remember some favourite literature which has a snowy theme.  I thought of poetry first of all, hence the title of this blog, and especially of a poem by Louis MacNeice, who I think is far less celebrated than he deserves.    


The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural, I peel and portion 
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

As with all the best MacNeice, there is an easy movement between the concrete and
the meditative, there is a wonderful sense of rhythm and form and there
are phrases which lodge in the mind as perfect encapsulations of a moment or idea.

It feels appropriate to champion MacNeice in a Capuchin blog, as our imprint is dedicated to keeping 
alive unjustly neglected great writing, and, through the slush of inconvenience and delay,
I'm glad I was reminded of this poem and this writer.

Quotation of the Day

"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author." G.K. Chesterton, author of the Capuchin Classics The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Incredulity of Father Brown.


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