Happy Birthday, W.H. Auden

The British-American poet was born today in 1907. From his great, “frightfully long” poem “The Age of Anxiety”:

Let us then
Consider rather the incessant Now of
The traveler through time, his tired mind
Biased toward bigness since his body must
Exaggerate to exist, possessed by hope,
Acquisitive, in quest of his own
Absconded self yet scared to find it
As he bumbles by from birth to death
Menaced by madness; whose mode of being,
Bashful or braggart, is to be at once
Outside and inside his own demand
for personal pattern. His pure I
Must give account and greet his Me,
That field of force where he feels he thinks,
His past present, presupposing death,
Must ask what he is in order to be
And make meaning by omission and stress,
Avid of elseness.

He’s writing about the ’30s: la plus ca change, etc. More of his poetry here.