We have been watching the wonderful Tom Hollander in 'Rev' on Monday nights, BBC2
In this week's episode [four] some lines were quoted from the poem by Louis MacNeice "Fanfare for the Makers". Despite having taught and lectured on English Literature, I am not really a poetry person and this poem had sadly passed me by, although there are other poems by MacNeice that I enjoy.
So in case anyone else has also missed this wonderful poem here it is:
Fanfare For The Makers by Louis MacNeice
A cloud of witnesses. To whom? To what?
To the small fire that never leaves the sky.
To the great fire that boils the daily pot.
To all the things we are not remembered by,
Which we remember and bless. To all the things
That will not notice when we die,
Yet lend the passing moment words and wings.
So fanfare for the Makers: who compose
A book of words or deeds who runs may write
As many who do run, as a family grows
At times like sunflowers turning towards the light.
As sometimes in the blackout and the raids
One joke composed an island in the night.
As sometimes one man’s kindness pervades
A room or house or village, as sometimes
Merely to tighten screws or sharpen blades
Can catch a meaning, as to hear the chimes
At midnight means to share them, as one man
In old age plants an avenue of limes
And before they bloom can smell them, before they span
The road can walk beneath the perfected arch,
The merest greenprint when the lives began
Of those who walk there with him, as in default
Of coffee men grind acorns, as in despite
Of all assaults conscripts counter assault,
As mothers sit up late night after night
Moulding a life, as miners day by day
Descend blind shafts, as a boy may flaunt his kite
In an empty nonchalent sky, as anglers play
Their fish, as workers work and can take pride
In spending sweat before they draw their pay.
As horsemen fashion horses while they ride,
As climbers climb a peak because it is there,
As life can be confirmed even in suicide:
To make is such. Let us make. And set the weather fair.
The photograph at the top of the page is taken from the cover of the Faber edition of
Louis MacNeice: Poems Selected by Michael Longley