W.H. Auden, “The Shield of Achilles”

She looked over his shoulderFor vines and olive trees,Marble well-governed citiesAnd ships upon untamed seas,But there on the shining metalHis hands had put insteadAn artificial wildernessAnd a sky like lead. A plain without a feature, bare and brown,No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,Yet, congregated on its …

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W.H. Auden on the Morality of Knowing

In our culture, we have all accepted the notion that the right to know is absolute and unlimited. The gossip column is one side of the medal; the cobalt bomb is the other. We are quite prepared to admit that, while food and sex are good in themselves, an uncontrolled pursuit of either is not, …

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“The Unknown Citizen”, W.H. Auden

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be One against whom there was no official complaint, And all the reports on his conduct agree That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint, For in everything he did he served the Greater Community. Except for the War till the …

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