W. H. Auden: Jack and Mig

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W. H. Auden: Jack and Mig

W. H. Auden

Funeral BluesStop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,Silence the pianos and with muffled drumBring out the coffin, let the mourners come.Let aeroplanes circle moaning overheadScribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'.Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.He was my North, my South, my East and West,My working week and my Sunday rest,My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;For nothing now can ever come to any good.

JohnnyO the valley in the summer where I and my JohnBeside the deep reiver would walk on and onWhile the flowers at our feet and the birds up aboveArgued so sweetly on reciprocal love, And I leaned on his shoulder; 'O Johnny, let's play': But he frowned like thunder and he went away.O that Friday near Christmas as I well recallWhen we went to the Charity Matinee Ball, The floor was so smooth and th band was so loudAnd Johnny so handsome I felt so proud; 'Squeeze me tighter, dear Johnny, let's dance till it's day': But he frowned like thunder and he went away.Shall I ever forget at the Grand OperaWhen music poured out of each wonderful star.Diamonds and pearls they hung dazzling downOver each silver or golden silk gown; 'O John I'm in heaven, ' I whispered to say: But he frowned like thunder and he went away.O but he was as fair as a garden in flower, As slender and tall as the great Eiffel Tower, When the waltz throbbed out on the long promenadeO his eyes and his smile they went straight to my heart; 'O marry me, Johnny, I'll love and obey': But he frowned like thunder and he went away.O last night I dreamed of you, Johnny, my lover, You'd the sun on one arm and the moon on the other, The sea it was blue and the grass it was green, Every star rattled a round tambourine; Ten thousand miles deep in a pit there I lay: But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

Shield of Achilles(excerpt)She looked over his shoulder For vines and olive trees, Marble well-governed cities And ships upon untamed seas, But there on the shining metal His hands had put instead An artificial wilderness And a sky like lead.A plain without a feature, bare and brown, No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down, Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood An unintelligible multitude,A million eyes, a million boots in line, Without expression, waiting for a sign.Out of the air a voice without a face Proved by statistics that some cause was justIn tones as dry and level as the place: No one was cheered and nothing was discussed; Column by column in a cloud of dustThey marched away enduring a beliefWhose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief. She looked over his shoulder For ritual pieties, White flower-garlanded heifers, Libation and sacrifice, But there on the shining metal Where the altar should have been, She saw by his flickering forge-light Quite another scene.

Works Cited"Poems by W. H. Auden." Poems by W. H. Auden. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016."Poet Author W. H. Auden Premium Photographic Print by Alfred Eisenstaedt at AllPosters.com." Allposters.com. AllPosters.com, 12 Oct. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2016."W. H. Auden Biography." Life of W. H. Auden. Encyclopedia of World History, 15 Apr. 2007. Web. 23 Feb. 2016."W.H. Auden." National Portrait Gallery, 21 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 Feb. 2016."W. H. Auden." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

Considered by many to be the greatest English poet of the twentieth century, Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York, England in 1907 and pursued a science and engineering degree at Oxford University (Biography). At Oxford however, Auden’s literary and poetic abilitis shone outstandingly, as a ‘calling’ drove him to change his academic major to English and chase after a lifelong career of creating literary and poetic works. With the publishment of his first poem collection in 1930 called Poems, Auden became known as the leading poetic voice of the generation (Poets.org). Other than this, Auden travelled extensively; he visited countries such as Germany, Iceland and China, and even served in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939 however, Auden moved to the United States where he met his lover, Chester Kallman, who he’d stay many years collaborating with. Also in America, Auden’s literary focus shifted from political/social views to more religious views, where his main preoccupation became of Christianity and Protestant theology. Overall, Auden was a brilliant poet, playwright, librettist, editor, and essayist, whose outstanding literary and poetic abilities earned him the reputation as the twentieth century’s greatest poet.


Wystan Hugh Auden was a highly-acclaimed poet of the twentieth century, whose poetic works ranged widely from romance to political/social satire. His vast knowledge of society and poetic styles of other famous poets such as Emily Dickinson and Y. B. Yeats allowed him to experiment with different literary styles and create diverse and seemingly limitless kinds of poems (Poets.org). Though he wrote freely about controversial topics such as love, religions, society and politics, Auden’s early career was characterized by his advocation of socialism and his works to support it. Following that, his later career in America transformed intensely as he shifted the focus of his works primarily to religion and Christian theology. Moreover, due to his homosexuality, Auden’s romantic poems often had wistful or poignant tones, as romantic relationships with the same gender were socially bizarre. An example of this is clearly visible in Auden’s poem “Johnny” where Auden’s depicts the struggles of a man pursuing a romantic same sex relationship (Biography). All in all, Auden’s powerful use of different poetic styles and worldly knowledge allowed him to create a wide range of insightful poetic works, confined to no specific style, establishing Auden to be one of the best and most influential poets of all time.



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