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Poetry

 

PORTRAIT OF W. H. AUDEN        

The ridge and furrow
Of your heavy face
Went up in smoke

You were a bloke
Fallen from grace
For leaving your place
On fire with incendiaries
To stalk the snowy
Sidewalks of New York

Other conscientious fellows
Put out the burning
Buildings with hose
And pails of water
Or came out
And sat in jails.

But the limestone poet
Ridge and furrow
Hill and dale
Walked still in your
Green valleys
Spinning words trite
As doggerel
Or dense with meaning  
As your gargoyle head
Or interchangeable

So you returned
Were heard in Oxford
Given grace
And weight
And read

In autumn years
Your  bonfire was
Piled high with fallen leaves
Damp with uncertainties
Its pace of burning
Fuelled with wit

Its ashes blazing

With outstanding words.

                 

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