Auden October: Inaugural edition, “The More Loving One”

This month will focus on W.H. Auden. Starting … now.

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.

(Auden, W.H. “The More Loving One.” Homage to Clio. New York: Random House. 1960.)

via rimbaud-was-a-rolling-stone on the tumblr.

It seems to me, I suppose unfairly, that in a pair there is always a lover and a lovee. My nearly lifelong preference for the safely sheltered harbor of being a lovee has made me deliberately pass over and miss crucial opportunities, not to mention made a secret hypocrite and liar of me many times over, while allowing me never to really share all of myself.

Masculin Féminin (Godard, 1966).

It’s a journey that lacks the thrill of a rocky climb or winding bridge over water where your hands are clasped and you jump together over giant roots; it’s a dry, smooth, straight path that lacks all scenery and leaves you feeling more alone with someone else than by yourself. To consciously choose to change this behavior (which of course is a shield I long ago threw up to defend against pain down the road and have never fallen out of the habit) is one of my many resolves, but one that I don’t know when I will possibly be ready to put in to practice.

via bleedtoblack on the tumblr.

Oh — I’m coming at this poem from the perspective that it’s about more than stars. But even just the stars layer of meaning is cool, too, I guess.

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