0 items - $0.00
Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Autobiography” by Louis MacNeice

Samhain is upon us, so we’re celebrating by sharing poems with a sinister bent in honor of this Celtic predecessor of Halloween. In this week’s poem, Louis MacNeice explores the darker side of youthful memory. MacNeice reflects on the early loss of his mother, a loss which remains as a sort of specter for the child in the poem, one that he can’t fully rid himself of. The sense of unease created by the poem’s refrain perfectly sets the tone for Samhain.

Autobiography

In my childhood trees were green
And there was plenty to be seen.

Come back early or never come.

My father made the walls resound,
He wore his collar the wrong way round.

Come back early or never come.

My mother wore a yellow dress;
Gently, gently, gentleness.

Come back early or never come.

When I was five the black dreams came;
Nothing after was quite the same.

Come back early or never come.

The dark was talking to the dead;
The lamp was dark beside my bed.

Come back early or never come.

When I woke they did not care;
Nobody, nobody was there.

Come back early or never come.

When my silent terror cried,
Nobody, nobody replied.

Come back early or never come.

I got up; the chilly sun
Saw me walk away alone.

Come back early or never come.

Louis MacNeice, Collected Poems (2013)


Categories: Louis MacNeice, Poem of the Week

Comments are closed.