W.H. Auden is great for heartbreak. Pathetic, I know – I am too acutely aware of my own cynicism, my own failures. I should have listened to the Love Through the Ages AQA poetry anthology more. True love doesn’t exist, but boys who really know how to fuck up do.
And that’s enough insight into my personal life, because I’m mad, sad and dangerous (minus Byron’s bear and general suave, alas) and also spent twenty minutes in the shower crying along to Burn. Not good, so if anyone wants to send me a bottle of red and Jo Shapcott’s Of Mutability, I will be eternally grateful.
I’m here to type about poetry, not about my (lack of) a love life. It serves a different function to novels, glimpses into microseconds of emotion, rather than a wander through events and characters and lives. At this point in time, I long for poetry’s instantaneous nature, its ability to make you weep in four stanzas. I don’t have the stamina for commitment, right now.
I like to read Auden and Plath when I’m crying, Wendy Cope and Carol Ann Duffy when I’m not. Larkin is a constant, the familiarity of furniture. Larkin’s work is uncomfortable sometimes, the confrontation of certain issues makes me coil inwards. Lock and key.
I want to leave you with Auden’s The More Loving One. I’ve had it pinned by my desk for two years. It has the vastness of space.
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
Initially, I wanted to apologise for this post. But I needed to write something, and I don’t think many of you would have understood enjoyed reading an oversized ‘fuck you’.
(and if anyone has any more poetry recommendations – poems that either make you cry, or do indeed make you want to shout ‘FUCK YOU’ – then please pass them on.)
Have a good day, folks.