Friday, March 10, 2006

W.H. Auden

W.H. Auden and his friend Christopher Isherwood served as ambulance drivers during the Spanish Civil War. Although his views on the war changed in later years, at the time, like so many others he responded to the call. Below a snippet from his mammoth poem "Spain, 1937".

To-morrow for the young poets (exploding like bombs)
The walks by the lake, the weeks of perfect communion;
To-morrow the bicycle races
Through the suburbs on summer evenings.
But to-day the struggle.
Today the deliberate increase in the chances of death,
The conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder;
To-day the expending of powers
On the flat ephemeral pamphlet and the boring meeting.
To-day the makeshift consolations: the shared cigarette,
The cards in the candle-lit barn,
and the scraping concert,
The masculine jokes; to-day the
Fumbled and unsatisfactory embrace before hurting.
The stars are dead.
The animals will not look.
We are left alone with our day,
and the time is short,
and History to the defeated
May say alas but cannot help or pardon.


Blogger durrati said...

Lorca may not have forseen his death, but he lived in a violent and dangerous place. Fixit may think that he has it bad but Lorca saw his friends murdered. Dali was so frightened of the fascists that he would have licked Franco's boots to stay alive. Spain in the first half on the last century was no place for a non-conformist. But Lorca refused to be anyone but himself...

6:55 PM  
Blogger durrati said...


I would love to see Toronto, I have traveled all over Europe and North Africa and Mexico but haven't made it north yet. Perhaps one day. I will keep your kind invitation to serve as guide in mind... in case fortunes take a turn.


7:13 PM  
Blogger Gen. JC Christian, Patriot said...

As a young student, Ofjoshua wrote Auden asking him about one of his poems. He responded with a very nice letter that addressed all of her questions. It hangs in her office now inspiring another generation of students.

10:14 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

Thankee, J.C., come back when ya get the chance..

10:32 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

What, I enjoy wine myself. Being a fair Italian cook I like a good red with pasta. My favorite is a reliable and inexpensive Hungarian wine called EGRI BIKAVER BULLS BLOOD. About $10 a bottle...

3:14 PM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

I do not drink...vine.
I remember traveling to DC when I was a young pup. A friend had a job as a Foreign Service envoy, and was assigned to a house in Chevy Chase. It was quite a few days, and I'm amazed that he didn't lose his job. Blasting Queen's "We are the Champions" at 2 in the morning could not have endeared us the the neighbours on Envoy row, but he continued in his job for several years, so I guess that it wasn't a big deal. One thing I found quite amazing at the time, was the liquor stores, and the cost of European wines. In Toronto, a bottle of Pouilly Fuisse would have set me back $15.00, and that was in the day when our currency was at par. In Washington, the same bottle was dusty, kept in the back with the other less popular products, and cost all of $6.00. Ah, those were the days. Today, I can't find a bottle for less than $32.oo Canadian - $28.00 your money.
I have not seen too many Hungarian wines, but on your sayso, will keep my eyes peeled. Take care, and when you're ready to come visit...Just whistle - really loud cause we are quite a distance apart.
P.S. How does your wife put up with you? I've been through two relationships and gave up trying to find anyone who could stand my idiosyncracies. Congratulations to you for finding a match! Cherish it bub.

4:43 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

I am decidedly and committedly single, dear, I fear no one would put up with me...but do try the wine.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

Hey, Mentor, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of both sexes who would put up with you, unless, of course you've got a history of serial killing. Don't downplay your advantages, you're jut different from the average, which is something of which you can be proud.
Wait, I see a business opportunity here. You are single, you are still in your prime....hmmmm. Let me mull this over.
You've made decisions in your life, as have I. If you don't have a partner, it's because you chose not to have one.
I'm an expert at that, but it took me many years of ranting to realize that I really didn't find anyone who was interesting enough with whom to spend the rest of my life. Mind you, that happened 18 years ago, and my life span is considerably reduced, but I do not regret the decision. I hope you do not regret your decision either, but if you do, get out there!
How's the new job?
By the way, if I'm getting too personal, let me know. I'm easily trained.

6:43 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

I married early; presided over that untimely death. Then spent ten years in the Navy and merchants. By the time I got out, all my brothers and sisters were happily divorced, or twice married and with the single exception of my next oldest sister having trouble with their kids. Then I saw Paula Poundstone say "You know something's wrong when you meet a man and you say,""Is this the kind of man I want My kids to spend their weekends with""," The wind pretty much went out of that sail.
But it's a different day now, who knows? I find you interesting too.

7:19 PM  
Blogger durrati said...


you can e-mail me from my profile page...

7:22 PM  

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