Louis MacNeice


If icebergs were warm below the water
One would not wince at their jagged tops;
Lifting and dipping on the swell
They still might signal all was well.

But icebergs are cold in the dark water,
Cold their base as white their crest,
And those who dive to check the fact
Can find no signal to retract.
There are no words below the water,
Let alone phrases, let alone
Sentences — except the one
Sentence that tells you life is done

And what you had of it was a mere
Ninth or tenth; the rest is sheer
Snub to those who dared suppose
Icebergs warm below the water.