Thursday, April 23, 2015

T.C.: W.H. Auden: The Fall of Rome


File:Benitachel, Spain.jpg

Benitachel, Eastern Spain: photo by Sebastian Vaida, 2008

..........................(For Cyril Connolly)

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extoll the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

W.H. Auden: The Fall of Rome, from Nones (1961)

File:Herd of Caribou.jpg

Caribou (Rangifer tarandus), Suomi, near Ihari, Finland: photo by Lukas Riebling, 2005

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