Thursday, June 30, 2005

Lullaby by W.H. Auden

Lay your sleeping head, my love
Human on my faithless arm
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral
But in my arms 'til break of day
Let the living creature lie
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant, enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy
Universal love and hope
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic, boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost
All the dreaded cards foretell
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find our mortal world enough
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

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