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domenica 19 febbraio 2012

'Dreaming Auden' [William Michaelian, Oct. 3, 2008]

Friday, October 3, 2008
Dreaming Auden

I was alone in the country, waiting for a ride in the dirt and weeds beside a narrow road under a cloudy sky, when I was approached by two very intelligent looking boys in their early teens. Their hair was dark, and the eyes of the boy closest to me were unusually bright and large. After we had exchanged greetings, they told me how much they hated school. I asked them if they would be interested in reading books together instead of going to school. They both loved the idea. I said the books could be on any subject, and that we could talk about them or not talk about them — whatever they liked, whatever they felt like doing. And then, suddenly, music began to play — something wild and raucous, with shouted lyrics that I immediately recognized. It was Auden: From bad lands, where eggs are small and dear, / Climbing to worse by a stonier / Track, when all are spent, we hear it — the right song / For the wrong time of year. And although I knew it was Auden, I told the boys it was T.S. Eliot. They had both heard of Eliot, and were quite pleased. But I was not pleased, because I had given them the wrong name. And I thought, I wonder if they will want to read poetry? WM

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These 4 lines by W.H. Auden ('From bad lands...') first appeared as dedicatory poem in the title page of 'The Shield of Achilles' 1955 book. They are bitterly strong and elusive: what can they lead to? But it is a 'short'- there is nothing else to read on, nowhere else to go to. I first discovered this many many years after I first read them; in the process, I met William Michaelian (and the Annandale Dream Gazette)- so mine wans't certainly only a waste of years. Truth and meaning manifest themselves in time, and time only, I can add. GC

('Da terre cattive, dove le uova sono piccole e care,/ salendo a peggiori per un sentiero/ roccioso, quando tutto è esaurito, la sentiamo- la canzone giusta/ per la stagione sbagliata.')

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