Sunlight in the Garden

I’ve just come in from feeding the chickadees (and hearing the elk herd crash into the woods, alas) and I was so thrilled to see sunlight on the new garden area. We’re going out to make the final box in an hour or so, once it warms up, but seeing actual sunlight was like a premonition of spring, a harbinger…

cedar board

looking northeast

And I was reminded of this beautiful poem, “The Sunlight on the Garden”, by Louis MacNeice. Read it aloud — you’ll hear its extraordinary cadence, its hidden rhymes and chimes.

The sunlight on the garden

Hardens and grows cold,

We cannot cage the minute

Within its nets of gold,

When all is told

We cannot beg for pardon.


Our freedom as free lances

Advances towards its end;

The earth compels, upon it

Sonnets and birds descend;

And soon, my friend,

We shall have no time for dances.


The sky was good for flying

Defying the church bells

And every evil iron

Siren and what it tells:

The earth compels,

We are dying, Egypt, dying


And not expecting pardon,

Hardened in heart anew,

But glad to have sat under

Thunder and rain with you,

And grateful too

For sunlight on the garden.

2 thoughts on “Sunlight in the Garden”

  1. That’s a lovely poem. It amazes me how varied this country is — you’re working on your garden and my poor mum (also an avid gardener) is bemoaning another -38 degree day in Regina. I think I’ll send her this poem as encouragement.

  2. Yes, amazing, isn’t it? Yet there’s a moment when all is equal — sometime in May, when our lilacs are in bloom and so are the ones in Ottawa, Toronto — but Halifax? Not sure…

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