Louis MacNeice


The further-off people are the smaller. Grandparents, 
Homeric heroes and suffering Bantu 
Are nothing in size to the tax-collector 
Or the dentist breathing fire on one's uvula. 

So the stunted commissionaire bulks larger 
Than the massive magnate at the turn of the stairs 
While the coffin entering by the west door 
Screens the chancel and dwarfs the altar. 

Yet sometimes for all these rules of perspective 
The weak eye zooms, the distant midget 
Expands to meet it, far up stage 
The kings go towering into the flies; 

And down at the end of a queue some infant 
Of the year Two Thousand straddles the world 
To match the child that was once yourself. 
The further-off people are sometimes the larger.