Wystan Hugh Auden

No one in my family read poetry;
much less did they aspire to write their own.
No more would they have blended perfumes;
sung madrigals in other people’s homes.

An uncle used to play the ukulele;
but after an unhappy marriage, an
aborted business and bulldozing bodies
in liberated Belsen he stopped it.

But then I happened to discover Auden
just when youth was beginning to grow old.
Enamoured of his turn-of-phrase, I guessed
it was what poetry was all about.

But when I worried out what he was saying
I wasn’t sure that I agreed with him.
Spent many happy hours in wondering
if he was in the right, or me,

eventually concluding it was neither.
And so the quest for truth has to go on…
unless the task itself is nothing but
a thankless chasing after butterflies.

Ian Clark
December 2018