Of Time and Love

van-gogh-santa-lighs-night-umbrellaEvery so often I stumble across or revisit some exceptional writing, verse and prose, that latches itself to heart and soul here and again, reminding me how perfectly life, time, and uncommon love can reassure. These two I share are favorites when heart is full, or heavy, or alone.

Isn’t it true
however far we’ve wandered
into our provinces of persecution,
where our regrets accuse,
we keep returning
back to the common faith
from which we’ve all dissented,
back to the hands, the feet, the faces?

Children are always there
and take the hands,
even when they are most terrified.
Those in love
cannot make up their minds
to go or stay.
Artist and doctor return most often.
Only the mad will never, never come back.

For doctors keep on worrying while away,
in case their skill is suffering or deserted.
Lovers have lived so long with giants and elves,
they want belief again in their own size.
And the artist prays ever so gently,
let me find pure all that can happen.

Only uniqueness is success.
For instance let me perceive
the images of history.
All that I push away
with doubt and travel,
today’s and yesterdays alike, like bodies.
—- Letters from Iceland, W.H. Auden


Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
—- The More Loving One, W.H. Auden

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Do you have a favorite Auden piece? Share them below. It isn’t enough to just gaze. Let’s taste and savor up the emotions Auden stirs. Please.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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22 thoughts on “Of Time and Love

  1. ‘The More Loving One’ is already a favourite of mine, so I shall present another for you;

    If I Could Tell You

    Time will say nothing but I told you so
    Time only knows the price we have to pay;
    If I could tell you I would let you know.

    If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
    If we should stumble when musicians play,
    Time will say nothing but I told you so.

    There are no fortunes to be told, although,
    Because I love you more than I can say,
    If I could tell you I would let you know.

    The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
    There must be reason why the leaves decay;
    Time will say nothing but I told you so.

    Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
    The vision seriously intends to stay;
    If I could tell you I would let you know.

    Suppose the lions all get up and go,
    And the brooks and soldiers run away;
    Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
    If I could tell you I would let you know.

    I didn’t know you liked poetry Professor *smiles*.

    (The colours in your header picture are beautiful by the way).

    – esme upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Evil is unspectacular and always human,
    And shares our bed and eats at our own table ….”

    “There must always be two kinds of art: escape-art, for man needs escape as he needs food and deep sleep, and parable-art, that art which shall teach man to unlearn hatred and learn love.”

    …and yes, very much this one…

    “The desires of the heart are as crooked as corkscrews
    Not to be born is the best for man
    The second best is a formal order
    The dance’s pattern, dance while you can.
    Dance, dance, for the figure is easy
    The tune is catching and will not stop
    Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
    Dance, dance, dance till you drop.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This one I find to be quite thought provoking:

    As I Walked Out One Evening
    W. H. Auden, 1907 – 1973

    As I walked out one evening,
    Walking down Bristol Street,
    The crowds upon the pavement
    Were fields of harvest wheat.

    And down by the brimming river
    I heard a lover sing
    Under an arch of the railway:
    ‘Love has no ending.

    ‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
    Till China and Africa meet,
    And the river jumps over the mountain
    And the salmon sing in the street,

    ‘I’ll love you till the ocean
    Is folded and hung up to dry
    And the seven stars go squawking
    Like geese about the sky.

    ‘The years shall run like rabbits,
    For in my arms I hold
    The Flower of the Ages,
    And the first love of the world.’

    But all the clocks in the city
    Began to whirr and chime:
    ‘O let not Time deceive you,
    You cannot conquer Time.

    ‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
    Where Justice naked is,
    Time watches from the shadow
    And coughs when you would kiss.

    ‘In headaches and in worry
    Vaguely life leaks away,
    And Time will have his fancy
    To-morrow or to-day.

    ‘Into many a green valley
    Drifts the appalling snow;
    Time breaks the threaded dances
    And the diver’s brilliant bow.

    ‘O plunge your hands in water,
    Plunge them in up to the wrist;
    Stare, stare in the basin
    And wonder what you’ve missed.

    ‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
    The desert sighs in the bed,
    And the crack in the tea-cup opens
    A lane to the land of the dead.

    ‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
    And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
    And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
    And Jill goes down on her back.

    ‘O look, look in the mirror,
    O look in your distress:
    Life remains a blessing
    Although you cannot bless.

    ‘O stand, stand at the window
    As the tears scald and start;
    You shall love your crooked neighbour
    With your crooked heart.’

    It was late, late in the evening,
    The lovers they were gone;
    The clocks had ceased their chiming,
    And the deep river ran on.
    – As I Walked Out One Evening….W.H. Auden

    Of the ones you shared “The More Loving One” is my favorite. As usual, Professor, you’ve opened new doors for me. 😉 I’d not heard of Auden prior to your blog.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I did like your selection Lonestar. Thank you. I’ve rediscovered anew why I have always enjoyed Auden. His words, rhythm, and imagery move me in many ways. I might have a man-crush on him! 😛 LOL

      So glad you got to enjoy a little peek through Professor’s (Trap?) doors. 😈

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sorry have not read whole post, but I saved this picture 2 weeks ago from google. So as I was scrolling through your posts, this stopped me in my tracks. Hmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

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