Law, like love and Stop all the clocks —W H Auden

Taking a cue from the recent events in Pakistan, Ammar Qureshi has contributed a beautiful poem by Auden in a newspaper. I love the last lines:

..Although I can at least confine
Your vanity and mine
To stating timidly
A timid similarity,
We shall boast anyway:
Like love I say.
 Like love we don’t know where or why,
Like love we can’t compel or fly,
Like love we often weep,
Like love we seldom keep.

My all time favourite is Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone that is not just an elegy but a complete poem in all respects.

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 for ever: 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.

But time is always guilty. Someone must pay for
Our loss of happiness, our happiness itself.

(from ‘Detective Story’ in Collected Poems, 1991)

Published on May 14, 2007 at 2:57 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. ‘Ewas my Norf, me Souf, me East and West,
    Me working week and me Sundy’s rest,
    Me moon, me midnight, me talk, me song;
    I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

    Ah, Auden of York!

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