Lullaby

W. H. Auden

 
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstasy.
Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
 
From Another Time by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden, renewed by The Estate of W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Poems by This Author

As I Walked Out One Evening by W. H. Auden
As I walked out one evening,
Epitaph on a Tyrant by W. H. Auden
Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
First Things First by W. H. Auden
Friday's Child by W. H. Auden
In Memory of Sigmund Freud by W. H. Auden
When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
In Memory of W. B. Yeats by W. H. Auden
He disappeared in the dead of winter:
On Reading a Child's Guide to Modern Physics by W. H. Auden
On the Circuit by W. H. Auden
Among pelagian travelers,
September 1, 1939 by W. H. Auden
I sit in one of the dives
The Fall of Rome by W. H. Auden
The piers are pummelled by the waves;
The More Loving One by W. H. Auden
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
The Shield of Achilles by W. H. Auden
She looked over his shoulder
The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be


Further Reading

Poems of Queer Experience
Abandonment Under the Walnut Tree
by D. A. Powell
Antique
by Arthur Rimbaud
At a Dinner Party
by Amy Levy
At the Touch of You
by Witter Bynner
Blue
by May Swenson
Calamus [In Paths Untrodden]
by Walt Whitman
El Beso
by Angelina Weld Grimké
elegy for kari edwards
by Julian T. Brolaski
Elegy in Joy [excerpt]
by Muriel Rukeyser
He would not stay for me, and who can wonder
by A. E. Housman
I Built a Fire
by Natalie Clifford Barney
Langston Blue
by Jericho Brown
Love Returned
by Bayard Taylor
On the Road to the Sea
by Charlotte Mew
Queer
by Frank Bidart
Starlight
by William Meredith
syntax
by Maureen N. McLane
The Embrace
by Mark Doty
The Hug
by Thom Gunn
The Next Table
by C. P. Cavafy
Tonight No Poetry Will Serve
by Adrienne Rich
Poems About Love
Paradise Lost, Book IV, Lines 639–652
by John Milton
A Ditty
by Sir Philip Sidney
A Drinking Song
by W. B. Yeats
A Parisian Roof Garden in 1918
by Natalie Clifford Barney
Action Poem
by Helen Hoyt
Amour Honestus
by Edward Hirsch
an endnote and love song:
by Erín Moure
Answer to a Child's Question
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
As I Walked Out One Evening
by W. H. Auden
Credo
by Matthew Rohrer
Dear Tiara
by Sean Thomas Dougherty
Dependants
by Paul Farley
El Beso
by Angelina Weld Grimké
Elegy in Joy [excerpt]
by Muriel Rukeyser
Epithalamium
by Matthew Rohrer
How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I Built a Fire
by Natalie Clifford Barney
I Love You
by Sara Teasdale
I think I should have loved you presently (Sonnet IX)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
In Passing
by Stanley Plumly
Invitation to Love
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
It Was Raining In Delft
by Peter Gizzi
June Light
by Richard Wilbur
Losing It
by Margaret Gibson
Love
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Midwinter Day [Excerpt]
by Bernadette Mayer
Miss Sally on Love
by Shara McCallum
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)
by William Shakespeare
Ode, Aubade
by Greg Wrenn
poem I wrote sitting across the table from you
by Kevin Varrone
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
by E. E. Cummings
Sonnets on Love XIII
by Jean de Sponde
syntax
by Maureen N. McLane
The Love Unfeigned
by Geoffrey Chaucer
To Dorothy
by Marvin Bell
True Love
by Barry Gifford
True Love
by Robert Penn Warren
Two Loves
by Lord Alfred Douglas
Undressing You
by Witter Bynner
What Is True
by Ben Kopel
What Was Told, That
by Jalalu'l-din Rumi
When You are Old
by W. B. Yeats
Who Shall Doubt
by George Oppen
Whom You Love
by Joseph O. Legaspi
Wild Nights – Wild Nights! (249)
by Emily Dickinson
Yours
by Daniel Hoffman