Prime and Terce

Simultaneously, as soundlessly,

Spontaneously, suddenly

As, at the vaunt of the dawn, the kind

Gates of the body fly open

To its world beyond, the gates of the mind,

The horn gate and the ivory gate

Swing to, swing shut, instantaneously

Quell the nocturnal rummage…

Recalled from the shades to a seeing being,

From absence to be on display,

Without a name or a history I wake

Between my body and the day.

The start of the first poem in W.H.  Auden’s cycle Horae Canonicae, a journey through Good Friday. And the equally moving and witty start of the second:

After shaking paws with his dog,

(Whose bark would tell the world that he is always kind,)

The hangman sets off briskly over the heath;

He does not know yet who will be provided

To do the high work of Justice with:

Gently closing the door of his wife’s bedroom,

(Today she has one of her headaches)

With a sigh the judge descends his marble stair:

He does not know by what sentence

He will apply on earth the Law that rules the stars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s