Category: Auden, W.H.

  • Excerpt from September 1, 1939

    A poem from the beginning of World War II that is not irrelevant today: Excerpt from September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden … Accurate scholarship can Unearth the whole offence From Luther until now That has driven a culture mad, Find what occurred at Linz, What huge imago made A psychopathic god: I and the […]

  • Twelve Songs [Song V, March 1936]

    Twelve Songs [Song V, March 1936] by W. H. Auden Fish in the unruffled lakes Their swarming colours wear, Swans in the winter air A white perfection have, And the great lion walks Through his innocent grove; Lion, fish, and swan Act, and are gone Upon Time’s toppling wave. We, till shadowed days are done, […]

  • Secrets

    Twelve Songs [Song VIII, April 1936] by W. H. Auden At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end, The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend; Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire; Still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never […]

  • Auden has an essay on Frost that I like.

    Auden has an essay on Frost that I like. Here’s how it ends: Hardy, Yeats, and Frost have all written epitaphs for themselves. Hardy I never cared for life, life cared for me. And hence I owe it some fidelity… Yeats Cast a cold eye On life and death. Horseman, pass by. Frost I would […]

  • Island Cemetery

    I have mentioned a couple of Auden poems from Homage to Clio, the book from which came The More Loving One. Here is one of them that I like a lot. My only trouble with it is the “thank our lucky star” line. Was this less of a cliche when the poem was written or […]

  • This makes less sense

    Perhaps Auden’s last line points us to something about the type of cynicism that these poems exhibit. The view that the stars don’t, in fact, give a damn is born from an attempt to remove all personifiable qualities that would typically be attributed to stars (caring, watching-over, keenness in Frost’s words). What we’re left with […]

  • This makes little sense

    If one can abide stars that are simply points of light, inert things that don’t watch us and are no kind of companion—and certainly this is what we all believe nowadays—one can learn to adjust to an empty sky. An empty sky is awfully beautiful, too, and, moreover, reminds us that we are the more […]

  • Dark Skies are OK too

    RE: #1) I’m not sure I fell similarly about the dark sky. I tend to agree more with the idea that one could learn to love an empty sky as much as the stars, not out of a residual effect of the stars but due to a newfound appreciation of total dark. One consideration: as […]

  • On being the more loving one

    A couple of quick comments regarding The More Loving One before I go to bed: Brian, I think, was right to insist that ‘sublime’ is not a noun in this poem. I was perhaps overly enthusiastic about my misreading. Had he felt “the total dark sublime” I would have maintained my case, but the word […]

  • The More Loving One

    Point: The More Loving One by W.H. Auden Looking up at the stars, I know quite well That, for all they care, I can go to hell, But on earth indifference is the least We have to dread from man or beast. How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for […]