Oh lovely to be Wystan Hugh Auden! And the things you would say Would be ever so gay— ………. Yet ironically double ………. So to cause just the proper amount of trouble— So the ladies would blush and blurt out—Oh, you, Auden!
How profound to be Wystan Hugh Auden! In the last rays of empire basking And in general knowing, not asking: ……….Twitting fascists abroad, ……….And the bourgeois at home, and naturally God— While Oxonians murmur: So true, Auden!
What a gas to be Wystan Hugh Auden! When addressing the body, Not to be politic, but be bawdy: ……….Though learned, colloquial— ……….Serious by turns, and then by turns joquial— With a sly hint of: You too? Me too, Auden!
Image: Auden1970byPeter, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license by TorontoPeter, edited and colorized in GIMP by yours truly.
put his hat of felt on
put his pants and belt on
and his shoes of leather
meet for any weather.
His outfit put together
no hesitation whether
he should go outside— Aye! I shall! He cried!
And with furious stride
went out through the wide
open front door.
Never yet before
had traveler set out
with fewer pangs of doubt
and such a shout!
Logic leads me to surmise
Our Lord doesn’t play at dice:
Surely He flips coins instead,
Letting the angels call Tails or Heads.
How else could He fairly settle fights
In Heaven, where everyone is always right?
Tell how you came to drudge in my kitchen
you child of the sheltering sky.
Who were your people?
Where did you get that hair, those blue eyes?
And that we’ll all of us be worms’-meat one day—
is that why you scoff at us?
The wildflowers were abashed
when the fountain burst from frozen ground
and the ice formed complicated branches
as if to demonstrate how much remained to be done.
They have scattered to the far fields,
and now must be counted again.
The roofer practices his trade,
he grows strong off his need for others.
The reseller of goods heard the drone of the chanting,
and the night grew pale.
The conference of geologists has been disbanded:
the earth is strong enough without them.
(Being an account of the Peculiar Events leading up to the Monstrous and Notorious Tragedy of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds who were martyred by being baked into a pie; and of the Warning previously issued to all Fowl within the Royal Earshot, which these aforementioned Blackbirds roundly ignored, to their own Detriment and Ultimate Demise; written by one, Witness to the Aforesaid Events.)
Go quietly, quietly! Quell every sound,
You geese in the air and you quails on the ground!
You ducks with your querulous ducklings in tow,
You may go as you like; only quietly go.
No quacking; no quarreling; quash every cry;
Not a chirp from you blackbirds who quarter the sky!
The queen is asleep:
If you cease not to peep
She’ll awake and demand you be baked in a pie!
The only death I want is one
that maybe never really happens
like yours Mr. Bierce
the one you maybe had
after you disappeared
into the Mexican desert
or that you maybe didn’t have
because nobody ever saw you die
You know what I mean?
The death I want is that kind
a little bit like hope
and a little bit like a shrug
and which never provably happened
so there’s always that chance.
You know what I mean.
Which is just to say
if you’re still out there
you crabby old bastard.