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August 1968 -- W H Auden

Guest poem sent in by Zenobia Driver
(Poem #895) August 1968
 The Ogre does what ogres can,
 Deeds quite impossible for Man,
 But one prize is beyond his reach:
 The Ogre cannot master speech.

 About a subjugated plain,
 Among it's desperate and slain,
 The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
 While drivel gushes from his lips.
-- W H Auden
This poem by Auden is one of the nicest put-downs I have read. I'd love to
say this to a few people, except that they wouldn't even understand what I
was saying.

-Zenobia

Martin adds:

The poem's title refers to the Communist invasion of Czechoslovakia in
August 1968, to quash Dubcek's nascent series of reforms. See
http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/1998/08/F.RUhtml for more
background on the invasion. Auden's Ogre was a (fairly transparent) symbol
of Stalin and his forces, but, as Zenobia observes, the type is common even
today.

70 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Polosail said...

Auden's reference is importantly to Breznev, not to Stalin -- who died (physiologically) in 1953.

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