Louis MacNeice was not only a writer, he was also employed as an producer for BBC Radio. He wrote various of plays for the radio. This poem, Sunday morning, is one of the many poems he wrote.
About the poet
MacNeice (full: Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE) was born on September 12 1907 in Ireland. He played a big role in the Auden Group (a group also known under the name Thirties poets). Other members of this group were W.H. Auden and Cecil-Day-Lewis.
Instead of writing about the political situation at that time, MacNeice choose a more soft approach for his poetry. He was still very much against any form of totalitarianism.
His thoughts about poetry:
Poetry in my opinion must be honest before anything else and I refuse to be ‘objective’ or clear-cut at the cost of honesty.
Down the road someone is practising scales,
The notes like little fishes vanish with a wink of tails,
Man’s heart expand to tinker with his car
For this is Sunday morning, Fate’s great bazaar,
Regard these means as ends, concentrate on this Now,
And you may grow to music or drive beyond Hindhead anyhow,
Take corners on two wheels until you go so fast
That you can clutch a fringe or two of the windy past,
That you can abstract this day and make it to the week of time
A small eternity, a sonnet self-contained in rhyme.
But listen, up the road, something gulps, the church spire
Open its eight bells out, skulls’ mouths which will not tire
To tell how there is no music or movement which secures
Escape from the weekday time. Which deadens and endures.