In moments of solitude, my mind, once far-ranging, now only homes in on one phrase; “mi amo”. I don’t speak Italian or any of the Romance languages, save Latin, so I don’t know what it means, but I’ve a feeling that my hindbrain /thinks/ it knows what it means; “my love”. I mumble it to myself at all times, like a mantra that removes the need for thought, introspection, awareness, alacricity. I can feel tearing, as with the sea’s withdrawing acting upon a shore-loose pebble, at my mind right now, a sleepy desire to just lie down and invoke “mi amo, mi amo, mi – amo”. And, yes, I have work to do. My love, I must work.
Auden is darkly, depressibly comic, eloquent, concerned both about the wider world and the horrible authorities in it, and with the very, very personal and embarassing. He’s like an Elliot without the unnecessary stretching for benchmarking references… It’s a sad poem, of a man past his prime or never in it, lusting in the carefully-instituional structures of yesteryear… I found myself walking through Kings Cross yesterday and, catching sight of a flapping wing feeling sudden joy at some life other than the massed shoulder-pressed humans, before I realised it was a stuck shred of paper flapping in the tube-train’s gale… …Even the parks are homogeneous – pigeons and ducks, reptilian wonders… I just want the wooded edge of a cornfield and a me-shaped hole to swelter in… It sounds perfect, glorious, but I couldn’t move there because of the terror…. It feels like there’s inevitable erosion of enclaves coming, always; even Byzantium fell.