Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thank You, Fog

I concede that in no way could I be accused of consistency - it has been a while since I lost added a new blog! Nevertheless here it is, I have been planning to put this poem on for a while, I am a HUGE W.H. Auden fan. Since I have sentimental attachment to fog (now that I am living back in Europe), here it is:

Thank You, Fog
by W.H. Auden

Grown used to New York weather,
all too familiar with Smog,
You, Her unsullied Sister,
I'd quite forgotten and what
You bring to British winters:
now native knowledge returns.

Sworn foe to festination,
daunter of drivers and planes,
volants, of course, will cause You,
but how delighted I am
that You've been lured to visit
Wiltshire's witching countryside
for a whole week at Christmas,
that no one can scurry where
my cosmos is contracted
to an ancient manor-house
and four Selves, joined in friendship,
Jimmy, Tania, Sonia, Me.

Outdoors a shapeless silence,
for even then birds whose blood
is brisk enough to bid them
abide here all the year round,
like the merle and the mavis,
at Your cajoling refrain
their jocund interjections,
no cock considers a scream,
vaguely visible, tree-tops
rustle not but stay there, so
efficiently condensing
Your damp to definite drops.

Indoors specific spaces,
cosy, accommodate to
reminiscence and reading,
crosswords, affinities, fun:
refected by a sapid
supper and regaled by wine,
we sit in a glad circle,
each unaware of our own
nose but alert to the others,
making the most of it, for
how soon we must re-enter,
when lenient days are done,
the world of the work and money
and minding our p's and q's.

No summer sun will ever
dismantle the global gloom
cast by the Daily Papers,
vomiting in slip-shod prose
the facts of filth and violence
that we're too dumb to present:
our earth's a sorry spot, but
for this special interim,
so restful yet so festive,
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Fog


  1. Because the fog just rolled in to grace our (Washington, DC, USA) Christmas Eve at midnight I went online to google this poem and found your blog. In reading it aloud I noticed that it is in fact in the metre cywydd, making its cadence more comprehensible and altogether more justifiably Auden. :) I too am a confirmed nutty fan, of poet and weather. Greetings. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Mystic Olive
    Thank you, Mystic Olive, I'm currently on a web-hunt for every piece of poetry written by Auden as I can't afford to buy his books or sign books out from the national library and he is my favorite poet, I wrote my uni graduation thesis on Auden's poetry and I'm sure my attraction to him has to do with his high degree of lucidity compounded with his feminine, graceful sensitivity.
    Well, it's that time of the year again soon to come, so I wish you a joyous happy Christmas in the company of - obviously! - Auden's Christmas Oratorio. Laiana

  3. "...we must reenter.......the world of THE work and money" -- that THE is very odd indeed.

    "the facts of filth and violence/that we're too dumb to PRESENT" - did he actually mean 'prevent'??

    But the final line is marvellous.