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Saturday, December 31, 2011

If I Had My Way, I Would Move To Another Lifetime

I'm showing an affirming flame as hard as I can. It's all I have to warm my hands over sometimes.

Thanks to all my readers, and commenters, and everyone that purchases things through my Amazon links, and bought my book, and of course my furniture. I'd like Sippican Cottage to be an ironic point of light, where the just exchange their messages. It seems like it to me, though it is not my place to say.

Happy New Year to all.


I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.  

W.H.Auden --September 1st, 1939

15 comments:

Leslie said...

"…but Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘It will be happier’…"

Alfred Tennyson

Casey Klahn said...

Powerful poem. Poor Linz; Poor Luther.

I second Leslie's entry.

julie said...

And I'll third it.

You are most definitely a point of light, Sipp. Happy new Year.

RJ said...

I like your posts, your book and your furniture. Glad you're here.

vanderleun said...

I'm into it as an "iconic point of light."

South of 5 and 20 said...

We wish we could get our hands on those shingles!

Happy New Year

Thud said...

Onwards and upwards Sipp....all the best for the new year.

SamArtDog said...

Once again, your blog makes me wonder, "What am I doing here if there was that good?" Then you hand out doses of reality and I remember. Thanks for all the bittersweet medicine. It does me good.
Keep going.

T.K. Tortch said...

And thank you, Sipp; Happy New Year to you.

TmjUtah said...

May we all have a better 12 than 11.

Thank goodness this one is almost over.

drdave said...

My New Year's resolution is to visit this site every day for the refreshment of my soul. Just like I did this past year. All the best to you and yours in 2012.

Jean said...

Happy New Year, Mr. Sippican!

Sam L. said...

I see where the heir and spare get their looks from.

Somehow I got the impression that you were a talented semi-crazed semi-recluse, but this guy has you beat all hollow:

http://www.projectmars.net/andrew_d_basiago

So your years are looking up. Happy '12 to you and yourn.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Everybody- Happy New Year. I love you all.

Sam- I can't compete with a "planetary-level whistle blower." I do drink pan-galactic gargle blasters from time to time, but that's about it.

Sam L. said...

Did you look at the links? Seems there's some underground (or undersea, forget which) alien reptilian bases.

Hoooo, doggies! Broderline, they ain't.