Louis MacNeice

The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden  
Hardens and grows cold,  
We cannot cage the minute  
Within its nets of gold;  
When all is told 
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances  
Advances towards its end;  
The earth compels, upon it  
Sonnets and birds descend;  
And soon, my friend, 
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying  
Defying the church bells  
And every evil iron 
Siren and what it tells: 
The earth compels, 
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,  
Hardened in heart anew,  
But glad to have sat under  
Thunder and rain with you,  
And grateful too 
For sunlight on the garden.