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Wystan Hugh Auden
1907-1973
( )


BOOKS on-line

 

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Stop all the clock
If I could tell you

 

9

The Novelist
 
Song of the Master and Boatswain
 

Song of the Master and Boatswain

At Dirty Dicks and Sloppy Joes
We drank our liquorstraight,
Some went upstairs with Margery,
And some , alas, with Kate;
And two by two like cat and mouse,
The homeless played at keeping house.
Ther Wealthy Meg, the Sailors Friend,
And Marion, cow-eyed,
Opened their arms to me, but I
Refused to step inside;
I was not looking for a cage
In which to mope in my old age.
The nightingale are sobbing in
The orchards of our mothers,
And hearts that we broke long ago
Have long been breaking others;
Tears are round, the sea is deep:
Roll them overboard and sleep.


The Novelist

Encased in talent as in uniform,
The rank of every poet is well known;
They can amaze us like a thunderstorm,
Or die so youn, or live for years alone.
They can dash forward like hussard; but he
Must struggle out of his boyish gift and learn
How to be plain and awkward, how to be
One after whom none think it worth to turn.
For, to achieve his lightest wish, he must
Become the whole of boredom, subject to
Vulgar complaints of love, among the Just
Be just, among the Filthy filthy too,
And in his own weak person, if he can,
Dully put up with all the wrongs of Man.


9

Stop all the clock

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


If I could tell you

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.
If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.
There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.
The winds must come from somewhere when the blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.
Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.
Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.


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