Sunday, July 8, 2007

Choruses from "The Flight into Egypt"

A nice bit of mock-cinicism from one of the masters of the form.
"In the really dark night of the soul it is always three o' clock in the morning."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald-

Come to our bracing desert,
Where eternity is eventful,
Where the weather-glass
Is set at Alas,
The thermometer at Resentful.

Come to our old-world desert
Where everyone goes to pieces;
You can pick up tears
For souvenirs
Or genuine diseases.

Come to our well-run desert
Where anguish arrives by cable,
And the deadly sins
May be bought in tins
With instructions on the label.

Come to our jolly desert
Where even the dolls go whoring;
Where cigarette-ends
Become intimate friends,
And it's always three in the morning.

-W.H. Auden-


Jeff Moss said...

A thought: Mocking this kind of "desert" is the first step toward understanding its true nature. And it makes a great read, too.

Care to make any comparisons with the 21st-century USA?

Thomas Banks said...

Jeff- I'm inclined to agree. I'm not sure I can offer any "See how this applies today" commentary as the poem itself is not all that old. (Auden did most of his work in the 30's and 40's). So really, society today is just an amplified version of what he saw then, assuming that he saw correctly. (Which I think he did).