Rediscovering the Greats

I just taught Auden’s “The More Loving One” in one of my classes. It is great to rediscover great poems with your students. One comment in class: “Well that just about the greatest thing I’ve heard.”  I even got a thumbs up from a poetry appreciating non-English major, though he gave William Carlos Williams a thumbs down. At least they have opinions.

Here’s a link to the poem, with Nick Laird reading it.

Some people write Flannery O’Conner in long hand to internalize her rhythm, with that in mind, I am re-typing his poem here.

The More Loving One
Looking up at the the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man and beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us they could not return
If equal affection can not be,
let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I can not say, now I seem them, say
I’ve missed them terribly all day.
Were all starts to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime
Though this might take me a little time.
From Homage to Clio by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1960 W. H. Auden, renewed by The Estate of W. H. Auden.

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