from “In Time of War”

by W.H. Auden
in-time-of-war I

     So from the years the gifts were showered; each

     Ran off with his at once into his life:

     Bee took the politics that make a hive,

     Fish swam as fish, peach settled into peach.


     And were successful at the first endeavour;

     The hour of birth their only time at college,

     They were content with their precocious knowledge,

     And knew their station and were good for ever.


     Till finally there came a childish creature

     On whom the years could model any feature,

     And fake with ease a leopard or a dove;


     Who by the lightest wind was changed and shaken,

     And looked for truth and was continually mistaken,

     And envied his few friends and chose his love.

The theme: Man is a creature who is forever becoming, hardly ever in a state of being. The animal and vegetable world simply is, without ego.


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Filed under Philosophy, Poem

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