If I could tell you

February 16, 2006 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment

W. H. Auden

Listen

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away?
Will time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

As usual, see commentary on Minstrels.

* The title of this poem on Minstrels is simply Villanelle – which, of course, is the verse form. My edition of Auden's Collected Shorter Poems (Faber and Faber) titles it 'If I could tell you', so I decided to go with that.

Entry filed under: English, Wystan Hugh Auden. Tags: .

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