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You’re currently reading “w.h. auden,” an entry on Bashō's Road
- 11.14.11 / 4pm
- W.H. Auden
Sometimes you find poetry where you least expect it…this article for example, I was reading in The New Yorker the other night, “HEART TO HEART, the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center” by Alex Ross, the music critic. In discussing a fascinating concert (“exploration of music and art’s power to reveal the many dimensions of our interior lives,” according to Jane Moss, Lincoln Center’s artistic director), Ross relates that Auden, near the end of his life would occasionally attend a Russian Orthodox church in the East Village. “Thank God, though I know what is going on, I don’t understand a single thing,” Auden said.
“To pray is to pay attention or, shall we say, to ‘listen’ to someone or something other than oneself,” wrote Auden a few years before his death in 1970.
Among the final poems he left us was this haiku. —
W.H. Auden | Painting by Caroline Binch
He has never seen God,
but, once or twice, he believes
he has heard Him.
[from THE NEW YORKER, Nov. 14, 2011]