WH Auden


O Tell Me The Truth About Love - Poem by WH Auden

Some say love's a little boy,
And some say it's a bird,
Some say it makes the world go round,
Some say that's absurd,
And when I asked the man next door,
Who looked as if he knew,
His wife got very cross indeed,
And said it wouldn't do.

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love.

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes,
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn't even there;
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton's bracing air.
I don't know what the blackbird sang,
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn't in the chicken-run,
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I'm picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.

Topic(s) of this poem: love


Comments about O Tell Me The Truth About Love by WH Auden

  • (6/19/2018 10:22:00 PM)


    When vas ze date of zas powem, I vast know now! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/30/2018 12:45:00 PM)


    This is the best poem I have read (Report) Reply

  • (11/15/2017 10:33:00 AM)


    The best poem I have ever read (Report) Reply

  • (11/16/2015 1:23:00 AM)


    it left me spellbound
    excellent piece of writing
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/26/2009 2:58:00 PM)


    Mr. Auden, whose last name has come to feel like a first:

    I concur with Michael.

    Kind Regards-
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/15/2005 6:27:00 AM)


    Dear Wystan,

    Well, I tried...

    Rest in love,
    Michael
    (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: truth, howl, funny, warning, history, weather, money, sick, change, summer, house, love, running



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Tuesday, February 3, 2015


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