…And in the end, to dance

None of our hearts are pure, we always have mixed motives,
Are self deceivers, but the worst of all
Deceits is to murmur ‘Lord, I am not worthy’
And, lying easy, turn your face to the wall.
But may I cure the habit, look up and outwards
And may my feet follow my wider glance
First no doubt to stumble, then walk with the others
And in the end – with time and luck – to dance.
                                 Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal iii

Autumn Journal is a book of poems, written between August and December 1938. I’d heard of it before, but was reminded of its closing lines (which may well form a later Saturday Quote) again recently; they were printed in the programme notes of After the Dance, which I reviewed here, and about which I’m still raving.

MacNeice captures so poignantly the feeling of that autumn – when everyone knew the war was coming and was trying to figure out how to function in the long, bustling waiting room before it hit.  I didn’t live through it, obviously, but people who did resonate with his words, and they are still powerful and haunting now.

I don’t have anything to add to the lines above. If they say something to you, well and good, if not, that’s OK too.

Have a good weekend.

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