Robin's Space

















As I walked out one evening

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 run 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 burroughs of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked id,
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 driver'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
Al through you cannot bless.

O stand, stand at window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbor
With your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased there chiming
And the deep river ran on.

~W.H. Auden