On this day in 1957 the Anglo Irish writer Joyce Cary died. Cary originally wanted to be a painter but realised that he would never be top rank and decided to write instead. Some of his books are about life in an Ireland that was left behind when his family moved to London when he was young.
He spent time abroad, especially in Africa, which featured in several of his books. His most famous novel is The Horse’s Mouth, a story of a fictional artist’s life that was made into a film. He died aged 68 after a long struggle with motor neurone disease.
Cary contracted motor neurone disease and must have longed for the peaceful living depicted in this poem, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, by William Butler Yeats, another Irishman:
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there,
for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning
to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Today I will try to respect all people and remember that anger and resentment can only harm me.