Doggerel by a Senior Citizen

Doggerel by a Senior Citizen

por W. H. Auden

(for Robert Lederer)

Our earth in 1969
 Is not the planet I call mine,
 The world, I mean, that gives me strength
 To hold off chaos at arm's length.

 My Eden landscapes and their climes
 Are constructs from Edwardian times,
 When bath-rooms took up lots of space,
 And, before eating, one said Grace.

 The automobile, the aeroplane,
 Are useful gadgets, but profane:
 The enginry of which I dream
 Is moved by water or by steam.

 Reason requires that I approve
 The light-bulb which I cannot love:
 To me more reverence-commanding
 A fish-tail burner on the landing.

 My family ghosts I fought and routed,
 Their values, though, I never doubted:
 I thought the Protestant Work-Ethic
 Both practical and sympathetic.

 When couples played or sang duets,
 It was immoral to have debts:
 I shall continue till I die
 To pay in cash for what I buy.

 The Book of Common Prayer we knew
 Was that of 1662:
 Though with-it sermons may be well,
 Liturgical reforms are hell.

 Sex was of course -- it always is --
 The most enticing of mysteries,
 But news-stands did not then supply
 Manichean pornography.

 Then Speech was mannerly, an Art,
 Like learning not to belch or fart:
 I cannot settle which is worse,
 The Anti-Novel or Free Verse.

 Nor are those Ph.D's my kith,
 Who dig the symbol and the myth:
 I count myself a man of letters
 Who writes, or hopes to, for his betters.

 Dare any call Permissiveness
 An educational success?
 Saner those class-rooms which I sat in,
 Compelled to study Greek and Latin.

 Though I suspect the term is crap,
 There is a Generation Gap,
 Who is to blame? Those, old or young,
 Who will not learn their Mother-Tongue.

 But Love, at least, is not a state
 Either en vogue or out-of-date,
 And I've true friends, I will allow,
 To talk and eat with here and now.

 Me alienated? Bosh! It's just
 As a sworn citizen who must
 Skirmish with it that I feel
 Most at home with what is Real.

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Misceláneas

W-h-auden


Otros poemas de W. H. Auden (leer al azar)


Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place

A shilling life will give you all the facts:
How Father beat him, how he ran away,
What were the struggles of his youth, what acts

O what is that sound which so thrills the ear
Down in the valley drumming, drumming?
Only the scarlet soldiers, dear,

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserte …
And snow disfigured the public statues;

Law, say the gardeners, is the sun,
Law is the one
All gardeners obey

First Things First
Woken, I lay in the arms of my own warmth and liste …
To a storm enjoying its storminess in the winter da

This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid

Perfectly happy now, he looked at his estate.
An exile making watches glanced up as he passed
And went on working; where a hospital was rising fa

Each lover has some theory of his own
About the difference between the ache
Of being with his love, and being alone:

She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities

Carry her over the water,
And set her down under the tree,
Where the culvers white all days and all night,

As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling-in-money,

Trying to understand the words
Uttered on all sides by birds,
I recognize in what I hear

Among pelagian travelers,
Lost on their lewd conceited way
To Massachusetts, Michigan,

Warm are the still and lucky miles,
White shores of longing stretch away,
A light of recognition fills

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