Fanfare for the MakersA cloud of witnesses. To whom? To what?To the small fire that never leaves the sky.To the great fire that boils the daily pot.To all the things we are not remembered by,Which we remember and bless. To all the thingsThat will not notice when we die,Yet lend the passing moment words and wings.So fanfare for the Makers: who composeA book of words or deeds who runs may writeAs many who do run, as a family growsAt times like sunflowers turning towards the light.As sometimes in the blackout and the raidsOne joke composed an island in the night.As sometimes one man’s kindness pervadesA room or house or village, as sometimesMerely to tighten screws or sharpen bladesCan catch a meaning, as to hear the chimesAt midnight means to share them, as one manIn old age plants an avenue of limesAnd before they bloom can smell them, before they spanThe road can walk beneath the perfected arch,The merest greenprint when the lives beganOf those who walk there with him, as in defaultOf coffee men grind acorns, as in despiteOf all assaults conscripts counter assault,As mothers sit up late night after nightMoulding a life, as miners day by dayDescend blind shafts, as a boy may flaunt his kiteIn an empty nonchalant sky, as anglers playTheir fish, as workers work and can take prideIn spending sweat before they draw their pay.As horsemen fashion horses while they ride,As climbers climb a peak because it is there,As life can be confirmed even in suicide:To make is such. Let us make. And set the weather fair.Louis Macneice
Louis MacNeice
Poppy took a deep, appreciative breath. How bracing, she said. I wonder what makes the country air smell so different? It could be the pig farm we just passed, Leo muttered. Beatrix, who had been reading from a pamphlet describing the south of England, said cheerfully, Hampshire is known for its exceptional pigs. They’re fed on acorns and beechnut mast from the forest and it makes the bacon quite lovely. And there’s an annual sausage competition! He gave her a sour look. Splendid. I certainly hope we haven’t missed it. Win, who had been reading from a thick tome about Hampshire and its environs, volunteered, The history of Ramsay House is impressive. Our house is in a history book? Beatrix asked in delight. It’s only a small paragraph, Win said from behind the book, but yes, Ramsay House is mentioned. Of course, it’s nothing compared to our neighbor, the Earl of Westcliff, whose estate features one of the finest country homes in England. It dwarfs ours by comparison. And the earl’s family has been in residence for nearly five hundred years. He must be awfully old, then, Poppy commented, straight-faced. Beatrix snickered. Go on, Win. ‘Ramsay House,’ Win read aloud, ‘stands in a small park populated with stately oaks and beeches, coverts of bracken and surrounds of deer-cropped turf. Originally an Elizabethan manor house completed in 1594, the building boasts of many long galleries representative of the period. Alterations and additions to the house have resulted in the grafting of a Jacobean ballroom and a Georgian wing.’ We have a ballroom! Poppy exclaimed. We have deer! Beatrix said gleefully. Leo settled deeper into his corner. God, I hope we have a privy.
Lisa Kleypas