Flashcards in Meeting Point Deck (14)
Modernist poem written in 1939. Pre-war and time of stock market crash.
Refrains (first and last lines) completes a circle
Repetition of refrains elsewhere in poem
"Time was away and somewhere else,
There were two glasses and two chairs"
Beginning and end of stanza. Circular narrative suggesting time suspended. Refrain (repetition that emphasises key idea). Personification suggests time is an abstract idea with a physical identity. Plain and emblematic of meeting in a coffee shop. Sense of detachment.
"And two people with the one pulse"
"Pulse" could refer to their hearts beating in unison or the "pulse" of time. Half rhyme of "pulse" and "else" subtle but consonant. MacNeice avoids over regular nature of perfect rhyme. Transforms into something magical. Allusion to the idea that two people become one when they are truly in love.
"(Somebody stopped the moving stairs):
Time was away and somewhere else"
Parenthesis shows separation of the people from time and the rest of the world. Moment of falling in love has halted and changed their minds and hearts. "Somebody" could suggest that the world and other people are distant and unidentified. It is unimportant to the couple. Human and spiritual moment enveloped between everyday details. Oblivious to the struggles of modern life.
"And they were neither up nor down;"
Reference to nursery rhyme Grand Old Duke of York. Metaphor for being suspended mid action. Nursery rhyme recalls childhood like falling in love which represents the suspension of intellect and reason.
"The stream's music did not stop
Flowing through heather, limpid brown,
Although they sat in a coffee shop
And they were neither up nor down."
Literal stream in an idyllic, pastoral country setting. Music does not stop but time does. "Limpid" is lyrical meaning unclouded and clear. Nature imagery conveys peace and contentment of the couple.
"The bell was silent in the air
Holding its inverted poise
Between the clang and clang a flower,
A brazen calyx of no noise:
The bell was silent in the air."
"The bell was silent" is a metaphor for arrested time. Is it a church bell? Stock market bell? Bell in coffee shop? Metaphorical flower. Imagery of time standing still. Silence endures as moment of togetherness away from the rapid movement of modern day life. "Calyx" doesn't move at all defying the law of gravity and defying time.
"The camels crossed the miles of sand
That stretched around the cups and plates;
The desert was their own, they planned
To portion out the stars and dates:
The camels crossed the miles of sand."
Change of location. "Deserts" are usually associated with baroness. Love is usually thought as open and rich. "Portion out the stars and dates" suggest lovers have supernatural functions. "Stars" represent time and the cosmos. Lovers often feel enlarged, part of something great and all encompassing. Mundane café transmuted into an exotic setting.
"Time was away and somewhere else
The waiter did not come, the clock
Forgot them and the radio waltz"
"Radio waltz" Reminds us it was written decades ago. Usually associated with romance but can be ominous. Creates element of tension. Represents overwhelming intensity of falling in love being frightening for some people.
"Came out like water from a rock:
Time was away and somewhere else"
Allusion to The Bible. Refers to love being like a miracle. Feelings that emerge without explanation and uplift those who experience it. Life without love might have seemed like a desert.
"Her fingers flicked away the ash
That bloomed again in tropic trees:
Not caring if the markets crash
When they had forests such as these,
Her fingers flicked away the ash."
Majority of population smoked in 1940. Smoking was regarded as elegant, sophisticated and sometimes seductive. Alliteration imitates movement. Refers to cigarettes and "tropic trees". Transformed into an exotic setting. Lovers transcend the ordinary. Stock market crashes. " forests" suggest growth and abundance like the lovers overwhelming feelings.
"God or whatever means the Good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body's peace
God or whatever means the Good"
Moved from Earthly locations to the divine. "God or whatever means the Good" encompasses all deities to draw in all readers however they conceive divinity. "Body's peace" shows heart is uplifted by love having a positive effect on their wellbeing. "Verify" suggests love vindicates itself and everything else that the two people are.