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Saturday, February 16, 2019

'In Love With Language'

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” – W.H. Auden

Born in England in February 1907, Auden became a naturalized American citizen before his death in 1973.  A prolific writer, he penned about 400 poems, including seven long poems (two of them book-length), 400-plus essays and reviews, and a number of plays and screenplays, seveal with other leading writers of the time.  He also wrote many opera libretti and musical collaborations.       While so many of his poems are long and complex, this one – for Saturday’s Poem – is shorter and more whimsical.  Here is Auden’s,

The More Loving One

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.

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