Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

Dublin -- Louis MacNeice

Guest poem submitted by Dave Fortin:
(Poem #1362) Dublin
 Grey brick upon brick,
 Declamatory bronze
 On sombre pedestals -
 O'Connell, Grattan, Moore -
 And the brewery tugs and the swans
 On the balustraded stream
 And the bare bones of a fanlight
 Over a hungry door
 And the air soft on the cheek
 And porter running from the taps
 With a head of yellow cream
 And Nelson on his pillar
 Watching his world collapse.

 This never was my town,
 I was not born or bred
 Nor schooled here and she will not
 Have me alive or dead
 But yet she holds my mind
 With her seedy elegance,
 With her gentle veils of rain
 And all her ghosts that walk
 And all that hide behind
 Her Georgian facades -
 The catcalls and the pain,
 The glamour of her squalor,
 The bravado of her talk.

 The lights jig in the river
 With a concertina movement
 And the sun comes up in the morning
 Like barley-sugar on the water
 And the mist on the Wicklow hills
 Is close, as close
 As the peasantry were to the landlord,
 As the Irish to the Anglo-Irish,
 As the killer is close one moment
 To the man he kills,
 Or as the moment itself
 Is close to the next moment.

 She is not an Irish town
 And she is not English,
 Historic with guns and vermin
 And the cold renown
 Of a fragment of Church latin,
 Of an oratorical phrase.
 But oh the days are soft,
 Soft enough to forget
 The lesson better learnt,
 The bullet on the wet
 Streets, the crooked deal,
 The steel behind the laugh,
 The Four Courts burnt.

 Fort of the Dane,
 Garrison of the Saxon,
 Augustan capital
 Of a Gaelic nation,
 Appropriating all
 The alien brought,
 You give me time for thought
 And by a juggler's trick
 You poise the toppling hour -
 O greyness run to flower,
 Grey stone, grey water,
 And brick upon grey brick.
-- Louis MacNeice
A magnificent poem -- I like it not just for the close proximity that
we, the readers, have to the poet's state of mind, but also for the
historicity of the poem. Fans of The Dubliners will recognize the first
few lines from their song romanticizing the blowing up of Nelson's
statue on O'Connell Street in 1966 -- perhaps a broader statement on the
decline of the British Empire in general. However, Dublin's own history
as a Danish foundation, as the seat of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, as
the setting for the events of 1919 and finally as the capitol of the
newly founded Irish state is also celebrated -- though the last with
MacNeice's unfailing sense of irony.  The repetition of the phrase "grey
brick upon brick" sets the historical events against an unmoving force
to some extent -- the urbanization (and the poverty and dreariness that
comes with it) of Ireland as exemplified in the grey bricks of Dublin is
almost outside of the main historical events.

Dave.

[Minstrels Links]

Poem #MacNeice - more poems by Louis MacNeice
Poem #Yeats - poems by William Butler Yeats
Poem #41 - "Ireland, Ireland", by Sir Henry Newbolt

[Administrivia]

Yesterday's commentary had an error in it: the Mary who succeeded Edward
VI and preceded Elizabeth I was not Mary Queen of Scots, but rather
Henry VIII's eldest child (and half-sister to Ned and Bess). The error
was mine, not Christopher's; I added some glosses to his notes without
checking my facts. Apologies to all, and especially to Christopher, for
the goof. - t.

161 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

karin schweitzer said...

AWESOME!!

MacNeice Rides (writes) again. I wasn't familiar with this one.

k

sdt1 said...

Super Poem, learned this in Post Primary School in the late 70's in Dublin.
Funny how remember these verbatim after all these years.

Grey brick upon Brick...how accurate..even today

Gllen B

Anonymous said...

I have often searched for this poem, knowing only a snatch. Thanks for the gift of it
Padraig

Space Matters Real Estates said...

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. Plots for sale in Hyderabad
Plots for sale in Banjara Hills
Plots for sale in Jubilee Hills
Plots for sale in Manikonda
Plots for sale in Madhapur
Plots for sale in kondapur
Plots for sale in Gachibowli
Plots for sale in Kukatpally

cerita humor dewasa said...

Thank you for your very nice article, do not forget to read my articles also humor dewasa, status fb galau, status fb romantis, status fb lucu, kata kata cinta, kata kata cinta, kata kata bijak , Kata Kata Galau, kata kata indah and many other interesting articles on my blog that.

hadirlah.com said...

Thank you for your very nice article, do not forget to read my articles also kata kata bijak, kata kata cinta, kata kata romantis, kata kata motivasi, status fb lucu, status fb romantis and many other interesting articles on my blog that.

William Smith said...

The article posted was very informative and useful. You people are doing a great job. Electrical Electronic Products Components | Electronic Research And Development | Keep going.

ruma parvian said...


This post is really informative to all kind of people. I am very happy to see the post. I will request you to give more information about this. I have gotten many knowladable speech form here. I have also website where you can get some knowledge which may be for your welfare. Visit here…..
poem

ruma parvian said...


This post is really informative to all kind of people. I am very happy to see the post. I will request you to give more information about this. I have gotten many knowladable speech form here. I have also website where you can get some knowledge which may be for your welfare. Visit here…..
poem

hadirkanlah said...

Thank you for your very nice article, do not forget to read my articles also
Kata Kata Cinta
Foto Artis Korea
Status fb Lucu
and many other interesting articles on my blog that.

Michael Syaukas said...

Nice Post, Thanks for your very useful information... I will bookmark for next reference

zarena cantik said...

perfect perfect fried rice, good post for the beginners as well..Super Prema, loved the presentation very much
Selaput Dara Buatan
Vimax asli Canada
Obat Perangsang
viagra usa
Bio Slim Herbal
Boneka Full Body
vimax canada

Obat Herbal said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Manmeet Swami said...

The blog is really appreciable.
Delhi Escorts

fira fitria said...

Thanks for sharing here
I was delighted to read your review
I hope you give the topics that are useful to everyone.
Also Read Interesting Articles:
Viagra Asli Obat Kuat Tahan Lama

Post a Comment