Poem of the Week

Today’s Poem of the Week is one of my favourites. Sitting at my very sunny desk on this gorgeous Friday afternoon, time is quavering, nearly ceasing altogether. It is a sensation which reminds of this poem.  I haven’t chosen it for any reason other than the fact that I love it. And I hope that at least one Bibby employee reading it this afternoon enjoys it too – and remember to let me know if you do…

 

Meeting Point

 

Time was away and somewhere else,
There were two glasses and two chairs
And two people with the one pulse
(Someone had stopped the moving stairs)
Time was away and somewhere else.

And they were neither up nor down;
The stream’s music did not stop
Flowing through heather, limpid brown,
Although they sat in a coffee shop
And they were neither up nor down.

The bell was silent in the air
Holding its inverted poise –
Between the clang and clang a flower,
A brazen calyx of no noise:
The bell was silent in the air.

The camels crossed the miles of sand
That stretched around the cups and plates;
The desert was their own, they planned
To portion out the stars and dates:
The camels crossed the miles of sand.

Time was away and somewhere else.
The waiter did not come, the clock
Forgot them and the radio waltz
Came out like water from a rock:
Time was away and somewhere else.

Her fingers flicked away the ash
That bloomed again in tropic trees:
Not caring if the markets crash
When they had forests such as these,
Her fingers flicked away the ash.

God or whatever means the Good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body’s peace
God or whatever means the Good.

Time was away and she was here
And life no longer what it was,
The bell was silent in the air
And all the room one glow because
Time was away and she was here.

Louis MacNeice

 

It’s a glowing haze of a poem. Notice how the couple are ‘two people with one pulse’; existing in their own special sort of heaven which is completely separate from everything: ‘time was away and somewhere else.’ The ‘moving stairs’ – escalators presumably? – remain still. The bell is silent, ‘holding its inverted poise’. The waiter does not come and the clock forgets them. The ‘crash’ of the financial markets is utterly unimportant compared to the ‘forests’ of love. To have ‘time stop’, achieve ‘body peace’ and forget all the world just for a moment is, I think, pretty rare. The poem captures the magic of that perfectly. It’s very romantic – and there’s always room for that….

 

It’s lovely to read aloud and/or listen to because of the gently rocking rhythm and repetition of the first and last lines of each verse. There’s a YouTube video with Louis MacNeice himself reading it, so click here if you’d like to watch it. The images are slightly questionable; but it’s definitely worth a listen!

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Filed under Poem of the Week, Poetry

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