The Truisms – Louis MacNeice


His father gave him a box of truisms

Shaped like a coffin, then his father died;

The truisms remained on the mantlepiece

As wooden as the play box they had been packed in

Or that other his father skulked inside.


Then he left home, left the truisms behind him

Still on the mantlepiece, met love, met war,

Sordor, disappointment, defeat, betrayal,

Till through disbeliefs he arrived at a house

He could not remember seeing before.


And he walked straight in; it was where he had come from

And something told him the way to behave.

He raised his hand and blessed his home;

The truisms flew and perched on his shoulders

And a tall tree sprouted from his father’s grave.