Sunday, April 22, 2007

And the years will run like rabbits

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 the arch of a 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 salmon sing in the street,

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

The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I'll 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 the water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare into the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

'The glacier knocks on 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 in the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbor
With all 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

1 comment:

Heather said...

That's the first time I read that one. I didn't want it to end. Thank you.