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. http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15550
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.