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Five Songs - II -- W H Auden

Guest poem sent in by L. Archer
(Poem #708) Five Songs - II
 That night when joy began
 Our narrowest veins to flush,
 We waited for the flash
 Of morning's levelled gun.
 But morning let us pass,
 And day by day relief
 Outgrows his nervous laugh,
 Grown credulous of peace,
 As mile by mile is seen
 No trespasser's reproach,
 And love's best glasses reach
 No fields but are his own.
-- W H Auden
        (November 1931)

I don't think a person has to have been through the experience of a soldier
to appreciate this one.

To me, this poem encapsulates the feeling of apprehension which so often is
just groundless worry over little or nothing.  Often, when the situation has
passed, you wonder why you were so concerned.

My fave line is "As mile by mile is seen, No trespasser's reproach."  How
many of us wait for the hammer to fall, only to find it never does?

Good link:  [broken link] http://www.audensociety.org/

5 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

amitc said...

Really beautiful and marvellously done with precise
word choice. But what I don't get is, whence the title?

--Amit

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Don said...

I don't see any necessary connection with war. When we have any joyous experience in the privacy and safety of darkness (and this experience seems quite literally sexual, with cheeks or even penises being engorged with blood), we may fear that in the common light of day it will all have been a dream and we'll have some terrible price to pay - like being shot for our misbehavior. What a wonderful relief to find that the joy can become lasting love - as it did for Auden, with a young man he met in NYC, years after writing the poem!

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