“Time that is intolerant of the brave and innocent
And indifferent in a week to a beautiful physique
Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom IT lives.” – W. H. Auden
Almost 70 years ago Auden wrote those lines,
and I remember them now.
But I did not know Auden, that complex and irritating man
who apart from his words – and autobiographical writings –
is no longer with us. All that is left is caricature
to be used by others for their own purposes.
And here I am – for now almost blind in one eye
and staggering, feet good only for a block or two,
half asleep most of the time. Yet “inside”
I see myself climbing mountains and sailing
into harbors, hitching a ride with donkey wagons,
and learning new languages (with a head which
can hardly retain the words I use everyday).
And the patterns of my life that I repeat over and over.
The same quests for a kind of truth, the same failures
in human relations, and many others, are eternal in me.
This jumble is eternally me. And it will die.
So does it matter that few will read or even less remember
these words — I am not these words, I am eternal and
I will die. No need for some wierd reification of an
“after” life. This is our reality and maybe someday
we will accept it.