Monday, December 26, 2016

Post-Christmas reflections from W. H. Auden

     A favorite writer whose works I enjoy again and again is English poet Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973). Here is a mathy excerpt from a very long Auden poem (around 1500 lines) entitled "FOR THE TIME BEING: A Christmas Oratorio," written during World War II and available in his Collected Poems.   

     The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
     And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
     Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
     Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
     Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
     Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
     Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
     And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
     And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.

Another mathy Auden poem, "Numbers and Faces," is available here.   And this link leads to more of his work.

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