Friday, February 16, 2007

Fragment 216

Auden Centenery

It is all there.
The ruined factories
Deserted railway lines
And Prospero crying in the garden.
The spies, the tyrants, the lovers and the sick
All in your poetry have found their niche
And are regarded with the cool compassion
Of the Master of his craft.

Your monument stands
A tower of Babel, but unlike
That earlier construction
The body of your opus breathes
And is united by
In easy homogeneity
The vigour of your intellect
The baroque restraint of your control.

Once in the library at seventeen
I read your Lullaby and gaped:
It changed the tenor of my life.
And in my adolescent wonderings
It challenged me. And now I know
How every line of verse you wrote
In lines of experience etched their course
So deep into your face.

The facts of your life
I learnt by heart. And then
There were the dormant years
When your writings took a second place
As I went wandering in fields of words
Not yours. But recently
You have assumed a constancy
Not there before.

By grey sea's edge, in city's dreck,
Whatever I am doing, I've only now
To turn to you to ease my temporary stress.
If we had met, would we've got on?
Would you have muttered an incomprehensible
And turned away? Or would we both
Have sat in shade and drunk
In mute companionship?

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