On Auden’s Face

Each line of your face
a dismissed metaphor.
You the timid champion
of time with men and art.
And where these cell bars
intersect as square
compartments of extra
cigarettes and matches
and men I have to wonder
if you would ever really
want to return as the poet
of your youth, writing
in defense of Spaniards.
The content of the slopes
under your eyes remain
locked in conflict in much
the same manner as art
and body politics. And
superimposed under
your furrows resides
the young Christopher1,
always in a way whittling
the romantic wood.

Beyond the eponymous
grave I will touch your
sentiment of freedom,
read the libretto of your
forehead and so know
the time, or be in the florid
moment, while I stand
erstwhile dusting your
mantle, knocking you,
accidentally, to the floor
as an interesting turn
of events.

 

1 Christopher Isherwood was a British novelist and on again/off again literary mentor and playmate of Auden.

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