Tag Archives: “September 1 1939”

The Decay Of Poetry In The Year Of Revolution


When the terrible European war which everyone had known for years was coming finally did arrive, W. H. Auden composed a poem, “September 1, 1939,” which begins:

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

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