Louis MacNeice

The Lake in the Park

On an empty morning a small clerk
Who thinks no one will ever love him
Sculls on the lake in the park while bosomy 
Trees indifferently droop above him.

On the bank a father and mother goose
Hiss as he passes, pigeons are courting,
Everything mocks; the empty deck-chairs
Are set in pairs, there is no consorting

For him with nature or man, the ducks
Go arrowheading across his bows
Adding insult to absence, his mood
Disallows what the sun endows.

The water arrows are barbed; their barbs,
Corrugated like flint, can start
No Stone Age echoes in his mind
And yet they too might pierce his heart.