WH Auden


In the Time of War, XII


And the age ended, and the last deliverer died.
In bed, grown idle and unhappy; they were safe:
The sudden shadow of the giant's enormous calf
Would fall no more at dusk across the lawn 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;
The kobold's knocking in the mountain petered out.

Only the sculptors 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 their course,
And ravished the daughters, and drove the fathers mad.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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