Two smacks at Auden


The fever took the city in its grip.
Enemy agents safe through vaccination,
met the planes that landed at the strip
and spread abroad the news of the infection

The unseen hand that quarantines hotels
sent ambulances each day for the dead.
Softly, someone tolled the abbey bells,
but no trams ran, and all the workers fled.

His departure started from a foreign bed
when the panic of invasion made it easy;
engrossed with what the poster hoardings said,
then in the station bar with vin du pays
while through the endless landscape of the city,
a van goes packed with meaning, like a phrase


No one, not even Oxford was to blame,
(blame if you like the anal penetration)
buggered in the States, his work became
a literary firm of masturbation.

Deliberately he chose the dry as dust,
kept poetry like postcards from a whore;
Chester was his public love; his private lust:
Stephen, Christopher, sundry others more.

In legal acts on ribald speculation,
he timidly reversed the life he’d led,
when poems had come from queer goings on
in the loose expanses of his double bed;
And only forty years of poor revisions
part well-hung student from crotchety don

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