‘Coda’, a poem by Louis MacNeice


Maybe we knew each other better
When the night was young and unrepeated
And the moon stood still over Jericho.

So much for the past; in the present
There are moments caught between heart‑beats
When maybe we know each other better.

But what is that clinking in the darkness?
Maybe we shall know each other better
When the tunnels meet beneath the mountain.




A fine poem written in 1962 by this well‑known poet from Belfast.
It is said to have been a prediction of his own death from pneumonia contracted during a visit to a coalmine in Yorkshire the following year.
Reading it today (12 January 2009) as the dreadful story of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis stumbles on, it has some touches that are even more uncanny...ending with what may be a faint glimmer of hope.
Ultimately, however, it is a poem nuanced by love, a quality shared by human beings everywhere, perhaps even in the midst of hate...

“The love that drives out fear...” (1 John, 4:18);

“The love that moves the sun and the other stars...” (Dante, Paradiso, XXXIII:1321);






The Poetry of Things

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