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As I Walked Out One Evening Analysis

Author: poem of W.H. Auden Type: poem Views: 22

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As I walked out one evening,

  Walking down Bristol Street,

The crowds upon the pavement

  Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river

  I heard a lover sing

Under an arch of the railway:

  "Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you

  Till China and Africa meet,

And the river jumps over the mountain

  And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean

  Is folded and hung up to dry

And the seven stars go squawking

  Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,

  For in my arms I hold

The Flower of the Ages,

  And the first love of the world."

But all the clocks in the city

  Began to whirr and chime:

"O let not Time deceive you,

  You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare

  Where Justice naked is,

Time watches from the shadow

  And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry

  Vaguely life leaks away,

And Time will have his fancy

  To-morrow or to-day.

"Into many a green valley

  Drifts the appalling snow;

Time breaks the threaded dances

  And the diver's brilliant bow.

"O plunge your hands in water,

  Plunge them in up to the wrist;

Stare, stare in the basin

  And wonder what you've missed.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,

  The desert sighs in the bed,

And the crack in the tea-cup opens

  A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes

  And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,

And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,

  And Jill goes down on her back.

"O look, look in the mirror?

  O look in your distress:

Life remains a blessing

  Although you cannot bless.

"O stand, stand at the window

  As the tears scald and start;

You shall love your crooked neighbour

  With your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening,

  The lovers they were gone;

The clocks had ceased their chiming,

  And the deep river ran on.


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