The Daring and the Chatter Will Go On

Good can imagine evil, evil cannot imagine good.

W. H. Auden

In Time of War (An Excerpt)

by W. H. Auden (1907 – 1973)



    He turned his field into a meeting-place,
    And grew the tolerant ironic eye,
    And formed the mobile money-changer’s face,
    And found the notion of equality.

    And strangers were as brothers to his clocks,
    And with his spires he made a human sky;
    Museums stored his learning like a box,
    And paper watched his money like a spy.

    It grew so fast his life was overgrown,
    And he forgot what once it had been made for,
    And gathered into crowds and was alone,

    And lived expensively and did without,
    And could not find the earth which he had paid for,
    Nor feel the love that he knew all about.

by W. H. Auden 
The life of man is never quite completed;
The daring and the chatter will go on:
But, as an artist feels his power gone,
These walk the earth and know themselves defeated.
Some could not bear nor break the young and mourn for
The wounded myths that once made nations good,
Some lost a world they never understood,
Some saw too clearly all that man was born for.
Loss is their shadow-wife, Anxiety
Receives them like a grand hotel; but where
They may regret they must; their life, to hear
The call of the forbidden cities, see
The stranger watch them with a happy stare,
And Freedom hostile in each home and tree.

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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