‘Nenthead Revisited: Love, Ghosts and Lead-Mining in W. H. Auden’s Eden’ by Hannah Parkes Smith.

The High Window

lead mine


Love requires an Object,
But this varies so much,
Almost, I imagine,
Anything will do.
When I was a child, I
Loved a pumping-engine
Thought it every bit
As beautiful as you.

W. H. Auden, ‘Heavy Date’.

W.H. Auden is one of those poets who, against perhaps your better judgment, stick with you.

The first Auden I knew of was a peaceable old stick whose poetry compelled grown men to weep at Four Weddings and a Funeral. He was wry, a little savage, a little dark, a little battered, and quite at home on the A-Level syllabus he’d found himself on –the Auden most of us take comfort in, when we find the world too much with us.

auden old

The second Auden I dug up was little like him. The second Auden was an adventurer, like the Eardstapas before him, travelling the winding roads of the Old English landscape…

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