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.
by Louis MacNeice (1907 – 1963)
The pessimist says: Time
goes; the optimist: It is coming.
What is this thing, time?
Let Augustine be our spokesman.
Its competitor knows its neurosis;
the lover the dragging of its chained feet.
Now, we say, looking at the moon
that is the sun in Australia.
We keep saving it for the future
and arriving there are insolvent.
Young, our hobby was assassinating it.
Old we pray for its recuperation.
by R. S. Thomas
from Mass for Hard Times (1992)
Here in this spring, stars float along the void;
Here in this ornamental winter
Down pelts the naked weather;
This summer buries a spring bird.
Symbols are selected from the years’
Slow rounding of four seasons’ coasts,
In autumn teach three seasons’ fires
And four birds’ notes.
I should tell summer from the trees, the worms
Tell, if at all, the winter’s storms
Or the funeral of the sun;
I should learn spring by the cuckooing,
And the slug should teach me destruction.
A worm tells summer better than the clock,
The slug’s a living calender of days;
What shall it tell me if a timeless insect
Says the world wears away?
by Dylan Thomas