Sunday, 24 October 2010

A poem for W H Auden

Polishing the glass

W H Auden died in Vienna,
I tell the barman polishing the glass
That some day we could die here too.
It's after two on a gloomy afternoon.
Vienna's where we are I say. He says it'll have to do.
The corner bar we are in is on the other end
Of the street from where he died
In his flat near the Moulin Rouge.

In Finnegans Pub many things are green,-
The doors, the window frames, the phone box,
The shelves for the books, the bar, the stools
At the bar. The beer I drink is black and smooth
As one of Auden's rhymes. Perhaps it's here
That I'll have my wake. Auden's name is in
Joyce's book - page two-seven-nine -
A one word sentence. A footnote. Auden.

note: the real name of the bar is Flannagan's


  1. Good poem, Gwilym..."Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone" - is one i remember of Auden's :)

    Had been reading the previous too :)


  2. Auden is one of my favorite poets. Your poem does him justice.

  3. Thanks Devika and Mike, I had that poem of Auden's about a dive on 42nd (or whatever number it was) touching lightly the back of my mind.

  4. I really enjoyed this poem, Gwilym, from the upbeat conversation about death to the punch finish of a wake and a footnote.

    ps my word verification for this comment is 'borkst': is this a Ukranian soup that has gone off?

  5. Thanks, Gordon.
    And wasn't there also a tennis player called beyond borkst?

  6. Good as ever G. Joan rang me this morning to tell me that she had read your book again and to tell you that you are good - very good!

  7. nice.

    I am overly fond of gloomy afternoons in bars.

  8. Pat,
    please thank Joan for her kind words. You can tell her I'm putting a reviewed book in the post for her. It's called "the horizon is far away" and it's by Ivan Schneedorfer. He's a Canadian from Czechoslovakia and he's a mere youngster of 73, but his poems are lovely. It's a little thank you for her poetry2010 contributions.

  9. Clowncar. Ta! To spend a gloomy afternoon in a little pub with a real log fire is the best!


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