memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

An acre of grass

We all stood around our father’s body,

Laid out like an ancient Patriarch

Unseeing eyes tilted towards Heaven,


I felt overwhelmed

Carried away by events

Drifting down a turbid stream

With massy clouds already gathering

In my brain.


Later at the funeral I read out a short poem by one his favourite poets, W. B. Yeats.


Picture and book remain,

An acre of green grass

For air and exercise,

Now strength of body goes;

Midnight, an old house

Where nothing stirs but a mouse.

My temptation is quiet.

Here at life’s end

Neither loose imagination

Nor mill of the mind

Consuming its rag and bone,

Can make the truth known.

Grant me an old man’s frenzy,

Myself must I remake

Till I am Timon and Lear

Or that William Blake

Who beat upon the wall

Till Truth obeyed his call.

A mind that Michael Angelo knew

That can pierce the clouds

Or inspired by frenzy

Shake the dead in their shrouds;

Forgotten else by mankind,

An old man’s eagle mind.


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