W H Auden Quotes & Wallpapers

W H Auden
Total Quotes: 587


To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself... W H Auden

We are lived by powers we pretend to understand. W H Auden

Private faces in public places Are wiser and nicer Than public faces in private places. W H Auden

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters Dance, Dance, Dance 'till you drop. W H Auden

One rational voice is dumb: over a grave The household of Impulse mourns one dearly loved. Sad is Eros, builder of cities, And weeping anarchic Aphrodite. W H Auden

There's only one good test of pornography. Get twelve normal men to read the book, and then ask them, 'Did you get an erection?' If the answer is 'Yes' from a majority of the twelve, then the book is pornographic. W H Auden

In a game, just losing is almost as satisfying as just winning... In life the loser's score is always zero. W H Auden

The closest modern equivalent to the Homeric hero is the ace fighter pilot. W H Auden

Some thirty inches from my nose The frontier of my Person goes, And all the untilled air between Is private pagus or demesne. Stranger, unless with bedroom eyes I beckon you to fraternize, Beware of rudely crossing it: I have no gun, but I can spit. W H Auden

Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. The reality is so horrible, it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith. W H Auden

Does God judge us by appearances? I Suspect that He does. W H Auden

Their fate must always be the same as yours, To suffer the loss they were afraid of, yes, Holders of one position, wrong for years. W H Auden

It is, for example, axiomatic that we should all think of ourselves as being more sensitive than other people because, when we are insensitive in our dealings with others, we cannot be aware of it at the time: conscious insensitivity is a self-contradiction. W H Auden

Man is a history-making creature, who can neither repeat his past, nor leave it behind. W H Auden

The image of myself which I try to create in my own mind in order that I may love myself is very different from the image which I try to create in the minds of others in order that they may love me. W H Auden

Desire, even in its wildest tantrums, can neither persuade me it is love nor stop me from wishing it were. W H Auden

If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me. W H Auden

Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say. W H Auden

I don't get acting jobs because of my looks. W H Auden

You know there are no secrets in America. It's quite different in England, where people think of a secret as a shared relation between two people. W H Auden

The condition of mankind is, and always has been, so miserable and depraved that, if anyone were to say to the poet: "For God's sake stop singing and do something useful like putting on the kettle or fetching bandages," what just reason could he give for refusing? W H Auden

About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters. W H Auden

A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true. W H Auden

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it: they must not do too much of it: and they must have a sense of success in it - not a doubtful sense, such as needs some testimony of others for its confirmation, but a sure sense, or rather knowledge, that so much work has been done well, and fruitfully done, whatever the world may say or think about it. W H Auden

We do not change as we grow up. The difference between the child and the adult is that the former doesn't know who he is and the latter does. W H Auden

The element of craftsmanship in poetry is obscured by the fact that all men are taught to speak and most to read and write, while very few men are taught to draw or paint or write music. W H Auden

Had Greek civilization never existed ... we would never have become fully conscious. W H Auden

To make one, there must be two. W H Auden

Marriage is rarely bliss But, surely it would be worse As particles to pelt At thousands of miles per sec About a universe In which a lover's kiss Would either not be felt Or break the loved one's neck. W H Auden

Machines are beneficial to the degree that they eliminate the need for labor, harmful to the degree that they eliminate the need for skill. W H Auden

Intellectual disgrace Stares from every human face, And the seas of pity lie Locked and frozen in each eye. W H Auden

Long ago the accusations had begun, And suddenly knew by whom it had been judged W H Auden

Swans in the winter air A white perfection have W H Auden

Laziness acknowledges the relation of the present to the past but ignores its relation to the future; impatience acknowledge its relation to the future but ignores its relation to the past; neither the lazy nor the impatient man, that is, accepts the present instant in its full reality and so cannot love his neighbour completely. W H Auden

As a rule, it was the pleasure-haters who became unjust. W H Auden

In the eyes of others a man is a poet if he has written one good poem. In his own he is only a poet at the moment when he is making his last revision to a new poem. The moment before, he was still only a potential poet; the moment after, he is a man who has ceased to write poetry, perhaps forever. W H Auden

Say this city has ten million souls, Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes: Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us. W H Auden

a culture is no better than its woods W H Auden

To be free is often to be lonely. W H Auden

Courses in prosody, rhetoric and comparative philology would be required of all students, and every student would have to select three courses out of courses in mathematics, natural history, geology, meteorology, archaeology, mythology, liturgics, cooking. W H Auden

A person incapable of imaging another world than given to him by his senses would be subhuman, and a person who identifies his imaginary world with the world of sensory fact has become insane. W H Auden

To hunt for symbols in a fairy tale is absolutely fatal. W H Auden

That the speech of self-disclosure should be translatable seems to me very odd, but I am convinced that it is. The conclusion that I draw is that the only quality which all human being without exception possess is uniqueness: any characteristic, on the other hand, which one individual can be recognized as having in common with another, like red hair or the English language, implies the existence of other individual qualities which this classification excludes. W H Auden

Thank God for books as an alternative to conversation. W H Auden

You must go to bed with friends or whores, where money makes up the difference in beauty or desire. W H Auden

Dogmatic theological statements are neither logical propositions nor poetic utterances. They are 'shaggy dog' stories; they have a point, but he who tries too hard to get it will miss it. W H Auden

Pleasure is by no means an infallible critical guide, but it is the least fallible. W H Auden

Poetry is the only art people haven't learned to consume like soup. W H Auden

The eye likes novelty, but the ear craves familiarity. W H Auden

The most important truths are likely to be those which society at that time least wants to hear. W H Auden

All poets adore explosions, thunderstorms, tornadoes, conflagrations, ruins, scenes of spectacular carnage. The poetic imagination is therefore not at all a desirable quality in a chief of state. W H Auden

Left to itself the masculine imagination has very little appreciation for the here and now; it prefers to dwell on what is absent, on what has been or may be. If men are more punctual than women, it is because they know that, without the external discipline of clock time, they would never get anything done. W H Auden

In a land which is fully settled, most men must accept their local environment or try to change it by political means; only the exceptionally gifted or adventurous can leave to seek his fortune elsewhere. In America, on the other hand, to move on and make a fresh start somewhere else is still the normal reaction to dissatisfaction and failure. W H Auden

God is Love, we are taught as children to believe. But when we first begin to get some inkling of how He loves us, we are repelled; it seems so cold, indeed, not love at all as we understand the word. W H Auden

I'll love you till the ocean Is folded and hung up to dry And the seven stars go squawking Like geese about the sky. W H Auden

In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountain start. W H Auden

Who on earth invented the silly convention that it is boring or impolite to talk shop? Nothing is more interesting to listen to, especially if the shop is not one's own. W H Auden

Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise, that this well-dressed young man is rich when he is really a penniless adventurer, or that if I do this such and such a result will follow when in fact it results in something very different. All good drama has two movements, first the making of the mistake, then the discovery that it was a mistake. W H Auden

Nobody knows what the cause is, though some pretend they do; it like some hidden assassin waiting to strike at you. Childless women get it, and men when they retire; it as if there had to be some outlet for their foiled creative fire. W H Auden

See without looking, hear without listening, breathe without asking. W H Auden

Drama began as the act of a whole community. Ideally, there would be no speculators. In practice, every member of the audience should feel like an understudy. W H Auden

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop. W H Auden

The Godhead is broken like bread. We are the pieces. W H Auden

Like love we don't know where or why Like love we can't compel or fly Like love we often weep Like love we seldom keep. W H Auden

In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise. W H Auden

Of course, Behaviorism 'works.' So does torture. Give me a no-nonsense, down-to-earth behaviorist, a few drugs, and simple electrical appliances, and in six months I will have him reciting the Athanasian Creed in public. W H Auden

Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise... W H Auden

In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountains start, In the prison of his days, Teach the free man how to praise. W H Auden

Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still, For poetry makes nothing happen. W H Auden

There is a certain kind of person who is so dominated by the desire to be loved for himself alone that he has constantly to test those around him by tiresome behavior; what he says and does must be admired... W H Auden



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