By Louis MacNeice
Written among August and December 1938, Autumn Journal remains to be one in every of the main useful and relocating testaments of residing in the course of the thirties via a tender author. it's a list of the author's emotional and highbrow adventure in the course of these months, the trivialities of daily residing set opposed to the occasions of the area outdoors, the payment in Munich and gradual defeat in Spain.
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Thus the section about Barcelona having been written before the fall of Barcelona, I should consider it dishonest to have qualified it retrospectively by my reactions to the later event. Nor am I attempting to offer what so many people now demand from poets - a final verdict or a balanced judgment. It is the nature of this poem to be neither final nor balanced. I have certain beliefs which, I hope, emerge in the course of it but which I have refused to abstract from their context. For this reason I shall probably be called a trimmer by some and a sentimental extremist by others.
Or stepping into a fresh-filled bath with strata Of cold water and hot? We lie in the bath between tiled walls and under Ascending scrolls of steam And feel the ego merge as the pores open And we lie in the bath and dream; And responsibility dies and the thighs are happy And the body purrs like a cat But this lagoon grows cold, we have to leave it, stepping On to a check rug on a cork mat. The luxury life is only to be valued By those who are short of money or pressed for time As the cinema gives the poor their Jacob's ladder For Cinderellas to climb.
But roads ran easy, roads ran gay Clear of the city and we together Could put on tweeds for a getaway South or west to Clee or the Cotswolds; Forty to the gallon; into the green Fields in the past of English history; Flies in the bonnet and dust on the screen And no look back to the burning city. That was then and now is now, Here again on a passing visit, Passing through but how Memory blocks the passage. Just as in Nineteen-Thirty-One Sun shines easy but I no longer Docket a place in the sun - No wife, no ivory tower, no funk-hole.