Sunday, June 21, 2009

'and no one exists alone'

My next post was going to be on David Dark's book. That one is coming, I hope. He has a short section on Auden that I wanted to reference. This morning, though, Andrew Sullivan quoted from Auden's poem, September 1, 1939 and it hit me right between the eyes. Thinking about what has been happening in Iran and quoting the last two stanzas of the poem here articulates more about at least one of David Dark's theses (this poem is the news) than I could say in a whole raft of posts.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

from SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden

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