‘Lead us not into temptation and evil for our sake.’
They will come all right, don’t worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine.
(W.H. Auden, For the Time Being; A Christmas Oratorio, 1942).
Posts Tagged ‘Just Another Auden October’
“Lady Writing a Letter With Her Maid.” Jan Vermeer, 1677.
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position;
how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure;
the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
(W.H. Auden, “Musee des Beaux Artes.” 1938).
*It has been discovered through radiocarbon dating that Landscape With the Fall of Icarus is not by Brueghel the Elder, though it is thought to be based on a lost painting of his, and that association lead to the centuries-long misattribution of the painting’s provenance.
“Ritual Dance” by Aëla Labbé.
Alone, alone, about the dreadful wood
Of conscious evil runs a lost mankind,
Dreading to find its Father.
(W.H. Auden, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. 1941-2.)
Photographed by bagnino on the da.
This great society is going smash;
They cannot fool us with how fast they go,
How much they cost each other and the gods.
A culture is no better than its woods.
(W.H. Auden, Bucolics II: “Woods.” 1952. 51-54)
Just Another Auden October: Composed of Eros and of dust, show an affirming flame — ft. photography by Andre de DienesOctober 20, 2011
Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Show an affirming flame.
(W.H. Auden, “Sept. 1, 1939.” Another Time, 1940.)
All photographs by Andre de Dienes.
The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?
No. It refers to the other thing.
Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982). Previously discussed here during E.E. Cummings month.
May it not be that, just as we have to have faith in Him, God has to have faith in us and, considering the history of the human race so far, may it not be that “faith” is even more difficult for Him than it is for us?
(W.H. Auden, “God”. A Certain World, 1970.)
Men will pay large sums to whores
for telling them they are not bores.
(W.H. Auden. “New Year Letter to Elizabeth Mayer.” 1941.)
Larry King and fourth wife Shawn Southwick King.