‘Sunlight on the garden’ by Louis MacNeice

It starts to become apparent that MacNeice talks about the finality of death. We are shown this in the first stanza where MacNeice states that the ‘sunlight in the garden hardens and grows cold’. . The sunlight, which displays a sense of warmth and beauty, ‘grows cold’. The phrase ‘grow cold’ clearly shows that we will eventually experience death. This is also a reference to a battle field, this image has been used to express the horror and pain war inflicts.

The execution of the phrase: “we cannot cage the minute” inside “nets of gold”.

The utilisation of the word ‘nets’ Hammers home the message that life is short lived and we cannot catch it and hold onto it just as you can grab onto a net. Also, the word “minute” clearly shows us that he is cautious of time. Therefore, going into war destroys valuable time.

The lack of punctuation at the end of the third line underlines the inability to stop time, this has been implemented to show that once you’ve entered war, you will never return.

It starts to become clear that MacNeice uses a complex structure with variated rhythm to convey the poems celebration of life. With the underlying fact that life is finite, death is nearing, but we should live life to its full potential whilst we can until its pleasures end.

In only four stanza’s MacNeice explores a variety of different emotions. There is a nostalgic sentiment in terms of love lost, the more distant memory of a paradise and the awareness of its imminent demise.

Moreover, towards the end of the poem the poet writes of regrets and finally acceptance, ‘and grateful too for sunlight on the garden’. It is a poem which celebrates the joys of living, both in bold actions and in quiet moments, but it does so in the sombre knowledge that life is finite and all joys must have an end.

Also, The juxtaposed rhymes may seem invasive and jangling at first, but through further readings it brings out a dying fall in those rhymes, this shows that when the time comes in war, you will come face to face with death. In conclusion, this poem shows the celebration of life and love. However, this poem also shows the Horror and malevolent imagery of war. Following on, MacNeice clearly displays his true hatred towards war and how time should be spent with loved ones, and not on war.