Just recently, I was re-reading a few poetry books when I came across this small collection of W.H. Auden poems. Auden’s most famous poem is Funeral Blues, which is best remembered from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. Most of Auden’s poems are about love, longing, relationships, and bad boyfriends. Things we can all relate to, right?
My favorite Auden work is a lovely Gothic -romance poem called “Lady Weeping at the Crossroads“, which I thought I’d share . The last two lines kill me every single time.
Lady, Weeping at the Crossroads
Lady, weeping at the crossroads
Would you meet your love
In the twilight with his greyhounds,
And the hawk on his glove?
Bribe the birds then on the branches
Bribe them to be dumb,
Stare the hot sun out of heaven
That the night may come.
Starless are the nights of travel,
Bleak the winter wind;
Run with terror all before you
And regret behind.
Run until you hear the ocean’s
Deep though it may be and bitter
You must drink it dry.
Wear out patience in the lowest
Dungeons of the sea,
Searching through the stranded shipwrecks
For the golden key.
Push on to the world’s end, pay the
Dread guard with a kiss;
Cross the rotten bridge that totters
Over the abyss.
There stands the deserted castle
Ready to explore;
Enter, climb the marble staircase
Open the locked door.
Cross the silent empty ballroom,
Doubt and danger past;
Blow the cobwebs from the mirror
See yourself at last.
Put your hand behind the wainscot,
You have done your part;
Find the penknife there and plunge it
Into your false heart.