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Auden, W. H.: A Walk After Dark

Portre of Auden, W. H.

A Walk After Dark (English)

A cloudless night like this

Can set the spirit soaring:

After a tiring day

The clockwork spectacle is

Impressive in a slightly boring

Eighteenth-century way.


It soothed adolescence a lot

To meet so shamelesss a stare;

The things I did could not

Be so shocking as they said

If that would still be there

After the shocked were dead


Now, unready to die

Bur already at the stage

When one starts to resent the young,

I am glad those points in the sky

May also be counted among

The creatures of middle-age.


It’s cosier thinking of night

As more an Old People’s Home

Than a shed for a faultless machine,

That the red pre-Cambrian light

Is gone like Imperial Rome

Or myself at seventeen.


Yet however much we may like

The stoic manner in which

The classical authors wrote,

Only the young and rich

Have the nerve or the figure to strike

The lacrimae rerum note.


For the present stalks abroad

Like the past and its wronged again

Whimper and are ignored,

And the truth cannot be hid;

Somebody chose their pain,

What needn’t have happened did.


Occuring this very night

By no established rule,

Some event may already have hurled

Its first little No at the right

Of the laws we accept to school

Our post-diluvian world:


But the stars burn on overhead,

Unconscious of final ends,

As I walk home to bed,

Asking what judgment waits

My person, all my friends,

And these United States.

Uploaded byP. T.
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