Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A is for April...A-Z ...and Auden

  Auden, W.H. (1907-1973)

Wystan Hugh Auden was an Anglo-American poet, one of the most influential voices of the last century. Click on his name above and read more about him. The specific poems of Auden that mine is a response to can be found here and here, this post uses a double prompt.  If you prefer you can listen to them instead!

And here is the response :

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose...

Our planet in 2015
isn’t a dream in blue and green;
a sprinkle of red paprika
on the usual spots in Africa.

Birds still have scarlet legs
and women grow harvested eggs;
some places too few babies are born
others too many trafficked for porn.

Lions and giraffes in urban zoos
are killed off as their keepers choose,
an uptick in poached tiger parts
whaling’s refined to an abstract art.

The civet’s trapped in a small cage
the coffee it shits is all the rage.
Dangers grow larger, families small
the dogs in flats are huge and tall.

Strange upheavals of soil and air
feeds research on the ozone layer;
earthquakes and volcano ash
cities doped up on digital trash.

Half the population’s unshod
but the carbon footprint is broad,
futuristic fuels are planned,
drones are automated unmanned.

Education is a human right
but then the resources are tight -
untold millions in refugee camps
thin blankets and sputtering lamps.

Religion’s found an extreme groove
violent crime is on the move.
High seas hide pirates in old boats.
A lover’s spat can end in shots.

Some learn to keep their penis safe -
a rod is so much handier for rape.
The law courts grow long in the tooth
plucking the tissues for the truth.

It’s increasingly acceptable
to covet a designer label -
a silver spooner is by birth
entitled to enhance their worth.

Political leaders pretend
corruption isn’t a worldwide trend.
Leather jackets and roadshow 
but the German answer is still no.

The gun lobbies chuckle and say
low grade warfare’s here to stay;
some bullets must expand on impact;
death is a long-drawn out fact.

In this world one peevish airman
can crash planes straight into a mountain;
another that’s lost over the sea
a year later and still no debris!

Emails, facebook, social network
no time for ennui for any clerk -
an empire was once free to implode
now we fall to info overload.

But still the morning glories refuse
to shut up shop or blow a fuse.
Spring still comes round once it’s April
the earth is lovely! even downhill.

Whew. It was really difficult to choose a poet for A- there are too many maestros - Anna Akhmatova (Russian), Maya Angelou (American) Javed Akhtar (Indian).... the list is long and I can never pick one without tying myself in knots.  Do you have a favourite writer for A? Do you struggle to decide favourites?

A word more about the contest that will run throughout the month, here on the A-Z posts. There will be giveaways for the top commenters after it is over, so do check back and make your opinions heard. 

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2015


  1. Hi Nila - what an amazing poem you've written - so many truths exposed - horrifying .. yet life will go on and give us happiness at times ... but we need to connect with others struggling with their lives. Fascinating thoughts here - so well expressed - congratulations - Hilary

  2. Very beautiful indeed,, believe it or not but the civet shit coffee is as marvellous in taste as it is in price..,..hehe

    1. I'll take your word for it, Gayatri, about the coffee, I mean :)

  3. Glorious poem and author share.

    Welcome in the "A"... as a host I am stopping by to say thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

  4. You delivered as I knew you would!
    Really beautiful writing, Nila.
    I love this poem... really gritty and so many truths... you hit the spot so many times!
    When I think of Auden, the poem The Unknown Citizen springs to mind.
    I love Maya Angelou and the work of Uwem Akpan (though I'm not sure if he wrote any poems, I only know his short stories)

  5. Nila: thank you so much for beginning your A to Z with my favorite poet of all time! And what an incredible response you've given him. I know Wystan would have approved.

  6. My grandfather really enjoyed his work. He would recite it often. :)

  7. Your response was Absolutely Amazing! You managed to miraculously mingle many hot topics together! It's great to meet you, Nila!


  8. What a lovely post Thanks for sharing - I'm A-Z Blogger number 596 Leaning On The Gate - and having great fun so far!

  9. Wow, that's a lot to take in. I like to paint about our lovely and sad planet lying in the midst of space! Poems are word paintings!

  10. Fantastic! I really love the topic of your poem...and your writing style...very, very nice.

  11. Hi Nila!
    I adore Maya Angelou! Lucky for me one of my senior students chose to research her and present one of her poems (Caged Bird) for her presentation. I love it when they choose my favourites--ahem, I don't influence them at all, truly!

    Hope the challenge goes well for you!

    Denise :-)

  12. A powerful statement amazingly well done in verse form! I am with you in your summary though, no matter how many things are wrong with our tired old world, it is still a beautiful place, where live and love still abound... we only have to look for them! Great start for the A-Z!

  13. A Remarkable Verse, with varied scenarios of the current year.
    Well I'd say a realistic start.
    A is for Arcadian smile ~ A Poesy Discourse

  14. Amazing response to Auden's poetry. I'm not that familiar with his verse, so thanks for the introduction!

  15. You chose my favorite for "A" - the first year I did the challenge (2012), Auden led it off. So bravo! And a wonderful response with your poem.


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