Maire Macrae's Song on the London Underground

For some reason, this Poem on Underground reduced me to tears on my way to Bond Street. It seems to perfectly express an eternity as well as the inevitability of loss.  By Kathleen Raine. 

Maire Macrae's Song

The singer is old and has forgotten
Her girlhood's grief for the young soldier
Who sailed away across the ocean,
Love's brief joy and lonely sorrow:
The song is older than the singer.

The song is older than the singer
Shaped by the love and the long waiting
Of women dead and long forgotten
Who sang before remembered time
To teach the unbroken heart its sorrow.

The girl who waits for her young soldier
Learns from the cadence of a song
How deep her love, how long the waiting.
Sorrow is older than the heart,
Already old when love is young,
The song is older than the sorrow. 


Anonymous said…
It had the same effect on me this evening!
Anonymous said…
Me tooo..
Anonymous said…
It is simply beautiful. Thank you for helping me to find it again.
Anonymous said…
Agreed; I was just searching for this poem to put tell a friend of mine in New Zealand about it. I actually wrote in down in my notebook. Kathleen Raine was a huge fan of William Blake but I had never read any of her poety. This is a lovely poem
Anonymous said…
I love it.
Anonymous said…
It is lovely

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