Sunday, July 18, 2010



W.H. Auden, A Thanksgiving:
  When pre-pubescent I felt
that moorlands and woodlands were sacred:
  people seemed rather profane.

  Thus, when I started to verse,
I presently sat at the feet of
  Hardy and Thomas and Frost.

  Falling in love altered that,
now Someone, at least, was important:
  Yeats was a help, so was Graves.

  Then, without warning, the whole
Economy suddenly crumbled:
  there, to instruct me, was Brecht.

  Finally, hair-raising things
that Hitler and Stalin were doing
  forced me to think about God.

  Why was I sure they were wrong?
Wild Kierkegaard, Williams and Lewis
  guided me back to belief.

  Now, as I mellow in years
and home in a bountiful landscape,
  Nature allures me again.

  Who are the tutors I need?
Well, Horace, adroitest of makers,
  beeking in Tivoli, and

  Goethe, devoted to stones,
who guessed that—he never could prove it—
  Newton led Science astray.

  Fondly I ponder You all:
without You I couldn't have managed
  even my weakest of lines.
Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. beek, v.1 ("Now only Sc. or north. dial."), sense 2:
intr. To expose oneself to, or disport in, pleasurable warmth; to bask.
On Horace at Tivoli, see Gilbert Highet, Poets in a Landscape (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957), pp. 113-119, with notes on p. 260.

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