Wednesday, February 21, 2007

happy 100th ...

to wystan hugh auden! did you know he spent his last years living in the austrian countryside, just outside vienna, and that he died in vienna in 1973? if you ever come to visit, i'll show you where. :)

here's one of his poems:

O Tell Me The Truth About Love

Some say love's a little boy,
And some say it's a bird,
Some say it makes the world go around,
Some say that's absurd,
And when I asked the man next-door,
Who looked as if he knew,
His wife got very cross indeed,
And said it wouldn't do.

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love.

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes,
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn't over there;
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton's bracing air.
I don't know what the blackbird sang,
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn't in the chicken-run,
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I'm picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.

song of the day: wednesday by tori amos.

3 comments:

Cheryl said...

Thanks for posting this poem, michi. Made me smile.

Cheryl

Arlene said...

hey, did i see his grave?!! i don't remember with all those decomposing composers. i particularly adore the part about the nose-picking. reminds me of something, with sphinxes.

i miss the lumberjack song. but i haven't yet gotten around to getting msn messenger (which, according to the husband, is pure spyware). sighsighsigh. will do that when i come... back.

running around re-packing the luggage and washing my mouth... i mean, my clothes —

a.

p.s. you forgot to mention "thingee" among the most used words. teehee.

p.p.s. i've got proof that you're the lush. don't make me post it on my blog. yeah, that pic with you tipping the prosecco bottle down your throat. **snicker sick sushi-diaper**

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Enjoyed the Auden piece. Thanks for the post.