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.