Fall 1947 • Vol. IX No. 4 Poetry |

The Duet

  All winter long the huge sad lady Sang to her warm house of the heart betrayed:—  Love lies delirious and a-dying; The purlieus are shaken by his sharp cry.   But back across the fret dividing His wildernesses from her floral side   All winter long a scrunty beggar With one glass eye and one hickory leg,   Stumping about half-drunk through stony Ravines and over dead volcanic cones,   Refused her tragic hurt, declaring A happy passion to the freezing air,   Turning his barrel-organ, playing Lanterloo my lovely, my First-of-May.   Louder on nights when in cold glory The full moon made its meditative tour,   To big chords from her black grand piano She sang the disappointment and the fear   For all her lawns and orchards:—Slowly The spreading ache bechills the rampant glow   Of fortune-hunting blood; Time conjures The moskered ancestral tower to plunge   From its fastidious cornice down to The pigsties far below; the oaks turn

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
W. H. Auden, an Anglo-American poet and essayist, won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for his long poem The Age of Anxiety.

Read More

For Sigmund Freud

By W. H. Auden

  All winter long the huge sad lady Sang to her warm house of the heart betrayed:—  Love lies delirious and a-dying; The purlieus are shaken by his sharp cry.   But back […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.