Revised 13 September 2012

W.H. Auden - The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Copyright 1976

WEBMASTER'S NOTE: For a while, this page had an error in the second to last line of the poem. It said 'darkness' instead of 'dark.' My sincere apologies for the error.

NPR has Auden reading this poem on their website.

Wystan Hugh Auden

In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise

On Auden's grave marker, in Kirchstetten, lower Austria

go to "The Watershed" go to "The Secret Agent"
go to "Lullaby" go to "Their Lonely Betters"