March 19 – W H Auden – “to keep a date with love”

Monday, March 19

These weeks of March, where I live in Michigan, do a lot of teasing.  Glorious sun with hints of warm weather to come, bringing a rash of flowers and then some gray days line up one after another.  Our March is not as tough as deep ice and snow in Maine, but the gray lineup can get wearing.  On our three campuses, the pulse of learning and teaching has pretty much hit stride for what we call “Winter Term.”   Final exams live off in the distance, and when they arrive, so will the flowering trees and tulips.

Today seems like a good day to read W. H. Auden’s puckish celebration of love’s passion and tenderness around and through these fickle, unpredictable work days.   Sure, a little time to pause and read this poem out loud can do us all good.

Have a blest Monday.

john sj

Detroit Mercy campus, April 22, 2006

Today’s Post –  “Song”

The chimney sweepers
Wash their faces and forget to wash the neck;
The lighthouse keepers
Let the lamps go out and leave the ships to wreck;
The prosperous baker
Leaves the rolls in hundreds in the oven to burn;
The undertaker
Pins a small note on the coffin saying, “Wait till I return,
I’ve got a date with Love.”

And deep-sea divers
Cut their boots off and come bubbling to the top,
And engine-drivers
Bring expresses in the tunnel to a stop;
The village rector
Dashes down the side-aisle half-way through a psalm;
The sanitary inspector
Runs off with the cover of the cesspool on his arm-
To keep his date with Love.

February 21, 1907 – September 29, 1973

Poem: “Song” by W.H. Auden, from As I Walk Out One Evening: Songs, Ballads, Lullabies, Limericks, and Other Light Verse. © Vintage Books. Reprinted with permission

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