The More Loving One

By W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
.

Auden-3Alexander McCall Smith in his immensely readable book, What W. H. Auden Can Do For You, writes the following about this poem:

“The More Loving One,” written in 1957, can be read at one level as a poignant, but not particularly complicated, reflection on unrequited love. It is considerably more than that, though: it is an acceptance that in the face of meaninglessness or indifference it is still possible to love.

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Filed under Philosophy, Poem

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