You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Auden’ tag.


FROM THE ARCHIVE 15th January 2013

Portrait of W.H. Auden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was rather amused the other day to read this quote by the poet  W.H. Auden:

“We are here on earth to do good unto others.  What the others are here for, I have no idea.”

Auden’s poetry certainly does me good.  However, if I never hear Funeral Blues (Stop All the Clocks) again—the poem read by John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral—it will be too soon!  Read it, yes.  Hear it at funerals, no!  A friend of mine, an actor and Anglican priest (a rather marvellous combination and a rather marvellous friend), says there has been no lessening in the number of funerals using Funeral Blues or, for that matter,  Robbie Williams’ Angels.  No comment!

The Auden I love above all else is Night Mail.   Predictable of me?  Perhaps.  Give yourself a treat and…

Source: W. H. Auden Says It Best!

Advertisements

First Night Design

Portrait of W.H. Auden Portrait of W.H. Auden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was rather amused the other day to read this quote by the poet  W.H. Auden:

“We are here on earth to do good unto others.  What the others are here for, I have no idea.”

Auden’s poetry certainly does me good.  However, if I never hear Funeral Blues (Stop All the Clocks) again—the poem read by John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral—it will be too soon!  Read it, yes.  Hear it at funerals, no!  A friend of mine, an actor and Anglican priest (a rather marvellous combination and a rather marvellous friend), says there has been no lessening in the number of funerals using Funeral Blues or, for that matter,  Robbie Williams’ Angels.  No comment!

The Auden I love above all else is Night Mail.   Predictable of me?  Perhaps.  Give yourself a treat…

View original post 467 more words


Portrait of W.H. Auden

Portrait of W.H. Auden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was rather amused the other day to read this quote by the poet  W.H. Auden:

“We are here on earth to do good unto others.  What the others are here for, I have no idea.”

Auden’s poetry certainly does me good.  However, if I never hear Funeral Blues (Stop All the Clocks) again—the poem read by John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral—it will be too soon!  Read it, yes.  Hear it at funerals, no!  A friend of mine, an actor and Anglican priest (a rather marvellous combination and a rather marvellous friend), says there has been no lessening in the number of funerals using Funeral Blues or, for that matter,  Robbie Williams’ Angels.  No comment!

The Auden I love above all else is Night Mail.   Predictable of me?  Perhaps.  Give yourself a treat and read it aloud.  Don’t be shy.  Feel the rising tide of excitement as the words trip off the tongue, mimicking exactly the clickety-clack as the night train ‘crosses the Border’ on its journey from London to Scotland to deliver the mail.  Why does it always have to be a ‘rising tide’ or words ‘tripping off’ the tongue?  It doesn’t, of course; they are clichés and I’m too tired to attempt anything original today!

NIGHT MAIL

This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,

Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.

Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.

Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,

Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.

Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.

Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.

In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.

Dawn freshens, Her climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends,
Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:
In dark glens, beside pale-green lochs
Men long for news.

Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers’ declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart’s outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.

Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying monsters
Or of friendly tea beside the band in Cranston’s or Crawford’s:

Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman’s knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?

To read about the 1936 documentary about the British postal service, for which Auden wrote Night Mail, and the music composed by Benjamin Britten, click here.

In 1988, British Rail used Night Mail to advertise their services.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

TRANSLATE

Award-Free Blog

About Me

about.me

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 15,493 other followers

Archives

Categories

Artists 4 Peace

Twitter

FND on Twitter

Facebook

FND on Facebook

YesterdayAfter

© Sarah Vernon and First Night Design 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Vernon and First Night Design with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements
Heritage Calling

A Historic England Blog

British Pathé

Updates from the Archive on WordPress

Homeless up north

My experiences of my time sleeping rough on the streets of North east England

Free Vintage Illustrations

Free full-color vintage illustrations in the public domain! Curated from postcards, books, ads, and more antique media from the 19th to early 20th-century.

Disappointed Idealist

Ranting from the chalkface

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

Rethinking Life

Art and the philosophy of life

%d bloggers like this: