Droughts & Flooding H20


Droughts & Flooding H20 - C L Rolfe

In the east snails become tyrants on tin rooves

Worms are looking for higher ground

Wolf spiders search for their wives, lost like Ents

drowned in the torrents of flooding eaves

Rain bombs rain down like bombs,

Bridges implode, cars float like leaves

The pleasant warmth of Autumn is framed with mould


I thought of this poem by WH Auden (mostly because of the last line) with the wet weather in the north eastern part of Oz.

WH Auden was an English/ American poet, known for his lyrical style and use of imagery and metaphor, interspersed with crisp pithy lines which remain with you.

The poem First Things First plays with idealism (philosophical reference to Hegel), the mystical / abstract and the physical. Alludes to the role of a poet to draw ideas together, make sense of things. the is an allusion to consumeristic elements of 20th C living where idealism struggles to exist.

The final line is like an anchor is plunged into the buoyancy of the words when the sobering realities of existence break through the euphoria of the heart finding its beloved. The line could be interpreted in two ways a sense of resignation to being alone or to the gratitude for water against a leonine summer (leonine = lion like, fierce).



First Things First by WH Auden


Woken, I lay in the arms of my own warmth and listened

To a storm enjoying its storminess in the winter dark

Till my ear, as it can when half-asleep or half-sober,

Set to work to unscramble that interjectory uproar,

Construing its airy vowels and watery consonants

Into a love-speech indicative of a Proper Name.


Scarcely the tongue I should have chosen, yet, as well

As harshness and clumsiness would allow, it spoke in your praise,

Kenning you a god-child of the Moon and the West Wind

With power to tame both real and imaginary monsters,

Likening your poise of being to an upland county,

Here green on purpose, there pure blue for luck.


Loud though it was, alone as it certainly found me,

It reconstructed a day of peculiar silence

When a sneeze could be heard a mile off, and had me walking

On a headland of lava beside you, the occasion as ageless

As the stare of any rose, your presence exactly

So once, so valuable, so very now.


This, moreover, at an hour when only too often

A smirking devil annoys me in beautiful English,

Predicting a world where every sacred location

Is a sand-buried site all cultured Texans do,

Misinformed and thoroughly fleeced by their guides,

And gentle hearts are extinct like Hegelian Bishops.


Grateful, I slept till a morning that would not say

How much it believed of what I said the storm had said

But quietly drew my attention to what had been done

—So many cubic metres the more in my cistern

Against a leonine summer—, putting first things first:

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.

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