Aug 15, 2009

“Alone” -- W.H. Auden

Each lover has a theory of his own

About the difference between the ache

Of being with his love, and being alone:


Why what, when dreaming, is dear flesh and bone

That really stirs the senses, when awake,

Appears a simulacrum of his own.


Narcissus disbelieves in the unknown;

He cannot join his image in the lake

So long as he assumes he’s alone.


The child, the waterfall, the fire, the stone,

Are always up to mischief, though, and take

The universe for granted as their own.


The elderly, like Proust, are always prone

To think of love as a subjective fake;

The more they love, the more they feel alone.


Whatever view we hold, it must be shown

Why every lover has a wish to make

Some other kind of otherness his own:

Perhaps, in fact, we never are alone.