A New Age

So an age ended, and its last deliverer died
In bed, grown idle and unhappy; they were safe:
The sudden shadow of a giant's enormous calf
Would fall no more at dusk across their lawns outside.

They slept in peace: in marshes here and there no doubt
A sterile dragon lingered to a natural death,
But in a year the spoor had vanished from the heath:
A kobold's knocking in the mountain petered out.

Only the scupltors and the poets were half sad,
And the pert retinue from the magician's house
Grumbled and went elsewhere. The vanished powers were glad

To be invisible and free; without remorse
Struck down the sons who strayed in their course,
And ravished the daughters, and drove the fathers mad.

by Wystan Hugh Auden

Comments (2)

He had me right up until take the red helmet off. I thought everything up to that point superbly written and recognized. But then the last bit; No longer a sailor or worker in faded navy work clothes, he somehow morphed into some unrecognizable being shadowed by the wings of some other being we can not fathom. If modern poetry is but senseless words, then I do not care for it. I have sat in the wings too long, and have seen senselessness praised as though some great art form. Alas, I do not see the merit of Picasso either. It's all nonsense to me. The king is naked, and sometimes I fear only I can see. Perhaps I am the fool incapable of siing it.
Such a great poem by the greatest critic of the 20th century. If one wants to learn to write competent poetry, this man is the one to read and study; not just his poems but the provocative things he says about poems. -LP