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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: “Circe” by Louis MacNeice

thumb_img_2314_1024Photo courtesy of Christina Berry

As we enter into September, the shifting of seasons brings about many changes and moments of reflection. Originally published in 1935 and part of WFU Press’s 2013 edition titled Collected Poems, this week’s poem is a hauntingly beautiful piece by Louis MacNeice.


“… vitreamque Circen”

Something of glass about her, of dead water,
Chills and holds us,
Far more fatal than painted flesh or the lodestone of live hair
This despair of crystal brilliance
Narcissus’ error
Enfolds and kills us—
Dazed with gazing on that unfertile beauty
Which is our own heart’s thought.
Fled away to the beasts
One cannot stop thinking; Timon
Kept on finding gold.
In parrot-ridden forest or barren coast
A more importunate voice than bird or wave
Escutcheoned on the air with ice letters
Seeks and, of course, finds us
(Of course, being our echo).

Be brave, my ego, look into your glass
And realise that that never-to-be-touched
Vision is your mistress.

Louis MacNeiceCollected Poems (2013)

Categories: Louis MacNeice, Poem of the WeekTags:

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