Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today's Reading:If I Could Tell You - W.H. Auden

A good friend sent me this poem during a difficult time some years ago. I've carried it with me since. I love its combination of fierce devotion and resignation, the way it captures the frailty of human love. It echoes Housman's sentiment "If truth in hearts that perish / Could move the powers on high, / I think the love I bear you / Should make you not to die." But of course, Housman and Auden remind us "all is idle."

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Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

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