AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
“Love has no ending.

“I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street.

“I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

“The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.”

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
“O let not Time deceive you
You cannot conquer Time.

“In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

“In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

“Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver’s brilliant bow.

“O plunge your hands in water
Plunge them up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you’ve missed.

“The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

“Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer
And Jill goes down on her back.

“O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress;
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

“O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbor
With your crooked heart.”

It was late, late in the evening
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

–W. H. Auden

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING

  1. Genevieve

    Well, that has to be one of the most depressing poems I have ever read! When you get to be my age it is all to real and I would prefer something a little more uplifting in the future Miss Literature Pants!!!

  2. Genevieve

    Oh, by the way…..I love the banner! Caleb did great!!!

  3. Haha, okay, that comment actually pushed me over the edge enough to make me make a real one.

  4. I like this poem a lot! I actually wrote a melody for it and made it a song using select verses hahaha.

  5. improbablefiction

    Oh awesome Lauren! I bet it was really great!

    Yea, I finished Looking for Alaska and had to find the rest of the poem to go along with the “crooked neighbor” part.

    😀

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