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Saturday, June 29. 2013
As I Walked out one Morning
As I walked out one evening,
"The voice of his generation." Wikipedia has a good summary of Auden's life. A versatile wordsmith and a very smart guy.
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He went to my school, just thought I would mention it!
Good. For some reason, reminded me of this bit from the Waste Land. Only association is that old maid Brit school teacher bludgeoned assorted "accepted critical opinions" about into us. Have long since forgotten the critics' views, but haunted still by the poems, especially this:
At the violet hour, when the eyes and back 215
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives 220
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays, 225
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
I too awaited the expected guest. 230
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,
One of the low on whom assurance sits
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
The time is now propitious, as he guesses, 235
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
Endeavours to engage her in caresses
Which still are unreproved, if undesired.
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
Exploring hands encounter no defence; 240
His vanity requires no response,
And makes a welcome of indifference.
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
Enacted on this same divan or bed;
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall 245
And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
Bestows on final patronising kiss,
And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit...
She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
Hardly aware of her departed lover; 250
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'
When lovely woman stoops to folly and
Paces about her room again, alone,
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand, 255
And puts a record on the gramophone.
My favourite Auden poem is still Musee des Beaux Arts. In particular the description of reaction to Icarus' fate...
Thought I would select a more obscure poem, just to demonstrate his breadth - and to give myself a reason to read a bunch of his stuff I hadn't seen.
Yup. Didn't mean to appear snarky about it,it was cool. And one gets sick of favorites. Different is good.
The poem grew on me.
Tons of wild images.
It was not intended to be a magnum opus, I suspect, but to catch a moment and to try to encompass the world in a moment. Which is why I view poems as crystals. (Not in the New Age sense - in the geological sense.)
Tough notion to get at, but i think you did it. The fleeting half-thought, given time to unfold.
Among many things I am thinking and feeling on this the day of my daughter's wedding.
Ah, the very best to you and yours on such a day, from this stranger down in the heart o Texas--
Dear buddy: Thank you for those warm sentiments, but I feel you are no stranger. I have long appreciated your comments over at BC.
Very kind of you, DZ. And remember what they say, you didn't lose a daughter--you gained a son!
BD,as I am always quoting, "to see a world in a grain of sand."
I so like your metaphor! Löve poetry and thinking of mining it, polishing it, the layers
of meaning varying depending on how you slice them...or an insight the crystal hidden at the core of an unpromising looking rock, or the Golden öre to be extractëd from a huge pile of rubbish...
A treasüre hidden, found, revealed, cherished...
As a kid, I collected polished rocks
and broken open rocks with crystals inside, and thought that the human heart is like that, the real beauty of it hidden. Break it open or polish it, no way of knowing what it holds
before seeking it out, a labor of love to take care of and bring it into the light..
Mostly I admire poets becaüse their poems are strange, concise' polished, like crystals hewn. Whereas I am all prose and mired, verbose,just the mundane rubble of the everyday.
The Lord must love the common folk, for He made so many of 'em.
--A. Lincoln (+ or -)
Baal and Axeman, both lavered the cannon fodder with uncommon amusement.
Great quote, Buddy. Very unpoëtically watching "I robot" with the kids. Fun movië that one could say"Deep" about if kids would not howl dërisivëly
This poem was on the English AP exam in 1983 -- explicating it was the most fun I had on the exam.
Although my specialty is medieval lit, I sometimes get to teach the Brit Lit post-1800 survey. This poem and WHA's "Lullaby" ("Lay your sleeping head my love") are two of my favorites to teach.
W.H. Auden is a poet - one of a class of poets - that doesn't quite click for me but I suspect will. I can see the "there" there, but it leaves me flat.
Now I feel that way about a lot of poets, and feel no urge to investigate them further, but some poets such as Auden, I keep coming back to now and then because it's like I can smell it, one day I'll pick it up and *click*.
I don't work at it, just suspect it will happen. Like a door I'll one day find open. But then maybe not.
NIce fun , BIrd Dog.
However, the Giant is green with envy while a roarin' in all the fairy books had read.
Poetry that rhymes. What a concept.
So much, if not most, "poetry" today is simply laziness.
One of my two favorite poets.
Kipling, of course, being the other.