Thursday, March 03, 2005

I have been reading in the poems and essays of Joseph Brodsky lately. One surprise, at least for me, was the discovery that Brodsky considered himself a disciple of W. H. Auden. While I cannot match Brodsky's devotion, nonetheless I am also an admirer of Auden's. Here are the opening lines of an early poem of his which have always moved me.

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

For the rest of the poem, go here.