Friday, February 6, 2015

Auden and Day

Beneath a craggy face the bard’s brain
pulsed with a
will to share.

Into the NBC offices he strode
with his well-known fleshy nose, angling
very slightly to the left, and the thatch
of hair curving down over his right forehead
& a very wrinkled face, sensuous and also shylike with the wrinkles in his eye corners framing
his determination

He wanted a check, on the nonce,
for his translation (with Chester Kallman) of Mozart’s
Die Zauberflöte
for NBC’s Opera Theatre production
in honor of his bicentennial

(born 1.27.1756 in Austria)
The Flute was broadcast 1.15.56
So W. H. must have completed it in’55
The year Dorothy Day was arrested
on June 15 for refusing to take shelter as required by law, during a nationwide Civil Defense drill
to prepare the masses for nuclear war

—a flyer handed out by Day
& her associates from the Catholic Worker June 15, 1955 at City Hall Park

The bard, crusty, publicly humble
his face rutted with difficulty

His cooking techniques cruelly satirized
in The New Yorker (later on, as I recall)
admired Dorothy Day
and signed over the check he had demanded (earlier than the contract required)
from NBC Opera Theatre

to her
perhaps to help pay for repairs to
the Catholic Worker shelter for the homeless ordered by the NYC Fire Department

(& the Fire folk perhaps also acting in reprisal for her sitting in
& getting arrested
at City Hall that June)

All Hail the Spirit of Generosity
& guilt over largess the bard was not
willing to forego gone from Earth since 1973

Edward Sanders 
    March 2014 

From Ed's blog:
Especially poignant is Ed's  retelling in poetry of a Chekov story which is accompanied by Jay Unger and his fiddle.

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