The genius of WH Auden

My face looks like a wedding cake left out in the rain.

Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.

You owe it to us all to get on with what you’re good at.

Those who will not reason
Perish in the act:
Those who will not act
Perish for that reason.

All that we are not stares back at what we are.

Learn from your dreams what you lack.

Art is born of humiliation.

You will be a poet because you will always be humiliated.

Poetry is the clear expression of mixed feelings.

A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.

Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.

Now is the age of anxiety.

A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can’t think of anything else to do.

The image of myself which I try to create in my own mind in order that I may love myself is very different from the image which I try to create in the minds of others in order that they may love me.

Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.

A false enchantment can all too easily last a lifetime.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

You know there are no secrets in America. It’s quite different in England, where people think of a secret as a shared relation between two people.

If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
- In Memory of WB Yeats

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. yinonyahelYahel
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 16:47:43

    Can you please tell me the origin of:
    “you owe it to us all ..” – is it from a poem;
    a speech? – do you happen to know the context?

    thank you very much -
    Yinon Yahel

    Reply

  2. Neel Burton
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 20:39:09

    Dear Yinon,

    Interesting question: I have searched high and low, but cannot find the source. I can only surmise that it comes from a speech.

    Sorry that I cannot be of any further help.

    All best,
    Neel

    Reply

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