I haven’t been keeping up with updating this half of the project, but I really wanted to share these.
I independently posited this form when I was in high school. I though I was exceedingly clever to have “invented” it. I promptly demonstrated that I was not nearly so clever by failing to ever execute one that didn’t fall apart into incoherence. I still have ambitions to write one one day, but until then, enjoy these:
The Jesuit’s Double-Faced Creed
I’ve clearly already broken the rules of my project, but so be it. I’ll keep trying (or something that approximates trying) anyway. I’ve still been working through Auden’s juvenilia, and I’ve made my reading quota for the week at least. Here follows my favorite of the poems I’ve read this week.
We sat in the shaded lamplight
Talking far on into the night
As many have sat
We planned what things should come to be
The great things future years would see
As many have planned
And thinking thereupon our eyes
Shone radiant with a glad surmise
As many have shone
The days slipped by, year by year
We found we built upon the air
As many have found.
So far this week, I’ve been working through W.H. Auden’s juvenilia, the stuff that he wrote in school and before he got published or famous and whatnot. It’s this one, edited by Katherin Bucknell. I don’t know quite how many I’ve read this week, but at least three. My impression is that at least some of them are good (perhaps all of them are?) and that they’re not as good as the stuff he’s actually famous for. Which makes sense, but I don’t trust my judgment very much.
My favorite so far is one titled “Envoi”. He wrote at least three poems with this title, though, so I’ll just post the entirety of the poem here and hope that’s not too illegal.
Take up your load and go, lad
And leave your friends behind
Whistle a song and be glad
For now their thoughts are kind
Do not pause to reason why
You sin, as sin you must
There’s no time before you die
Live—ere you are only dust.
Turn you not to left or right
Bear your sorrows well
Though the road be blackest night
And the last end but Hell.
Go! This ugly world to rouse
And, for your mother’s sake
Make for yourself the youthful vows
Which you are bound to break.