Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Law, Like Love

I'm tired, and need to sleep. No time for a proper post, and I haven't had an opportunity to write poetry in days. Which is bullshit, cause I need to write 15 more poems, and finish a couple stories to complete Pink House. And I spend so much of my day lost in my head, or worse (like reading sports blogs—the Cowboys win a cuppla games, and I lose every bit of my resolve to give that fucking game up).

Paula Jane's been reading some of Auden's sonnets, which has caused me to think of him in my few lucid moments. I've been set in a Wallace Stevens-place for a month or so (which can be exhausting, by the way), and now I think maybe I need a little Wystan to even me out. Smooth off the edges. Balance me out. I have no idea, really, what I just said.

This is among my favorite of his poems. It's called Law Like Love. Read this poem, then read it again, aloud. It is immensely pleasureable, as nearly all his poems are.

Law, say the gardeners, is the sun,
Law is the one
All gardeners obey
To-morrow, yesterday, to-day.

Law is the wisdom of the old,
The impotent grandfathers feebly scold;
The grandchildren put out a treble tongue,
Law is the senses of the young.

Law, says the priest with a priestly look,
Expounding to an unpriestly people,
Law is the words in my priestly book,
Law is my pulpit and my steeple.

Law, says the judge as he looks down his nose,
Speaking clearly and most severely,
Law is as I've told you before,
Law is as you know I suppose,
Law is but let me explain it once more,
Law is The Law.

Yet law-abiding scholars write:
Law is neither wrong nor right,
Law is only crimes
Punished by places and by times,
Law is the clothes men wear
Anytime, anywhere,
Law is Good morning and Good night.

Others say, Law is our Fate;
Others say, Law is our State;
Others say, others say
Law is no more,
Law has gone away.

And always the loud angry crowd,
Very angry and very loud,
Law is We,
And always the soft idiot softly Me.

If we, dear, know we know no more
Than they about the Law,
If I no more than you
Know what we should and should not do
Except that all agree
Gladly or miserably
That the Law is
And that all know this I
f therefore thinking it absurd
To identify Law with some other word,
Unlike so many men I cannot say
Law is again,

No more than they can we suppress
The universal wish to guess
Or slip out of our own position
Into an unconcerned condition.
Although I can at least confine
Your vanity and mine
To stating timidly
A timid similarity,
We shall boast anyway:
Like love I say.

Like love we don't know where or why,
Like love we can't compel or fly,
Like love we often weep,
Like love we seldom keep.

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