Fifth in an occasional series on the poetry of Louis MacNeice
Ali Eteraz recently withdrew from the Infidel Bloggers Alliance. Follow the link to find out more about what happened; Eteraz is a humane and reasonable person, and doesn’t deserve the vitriol meted out to him.
What interested me were the comments on that post, and on his other posts. He gets some of the nastiest commenters you’ll ever see, ones who make Gates of Vienna’s piddling little trolls look like rays of sunshine.
The hardcore anti-jihad zealots, including Christians, flame him for being a Muslim. To them, his moderate stance and humane attitude are a pose, an example of extra-super-sophisticated taqiyya on his part, designed to lull the gullible fools of the West into somnolence while he and his fellow mujahideen bring their nefarious Islamic schemes to fruition.
On the other side are Muslims who consider him an apostate, a traitor to the faith and the Prophet, and unleash the most vile invective on him.
So Eteraz is caught between a rock and a hard place. Reading his post made me think of this poem, which I had intended to post anyway for the two or three readers who have taken to MacNeice’s verse and requested more.
By Louis MacNeice
If we could get the hang of it entirely
It would take too long;
All we know is the splash of words in passing
And falling twigs of song,
And when we try to eavesdrop on the great
Presences it is rarely
That by a stroke of luck we can appropriate
Even a phrase entirely.
If we could find our happiness entirely
In somebody else’s arms
We should not fear the spears of the spring nor the city’s
Yammering fire alarms
But, as it is, the spears each year go through
Our flesh and almost hourly
Bell or siren banishes the blue
Eyes of Love entirely.
And if the world were black or white entirely
And all the charts were plain
Instead of a mad weir of tigerish waters,
A prism of delight and pain,
We might be surer where we wished to go
Or again we might be merely
Bored but in the brute reality there is no
Road that is right entirely.
So, Eteraz: if you’re around, this one’s for you.