Tell Me the Truth About Love: Fifteen Poems

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9780571195930: Tell Me the Truth About Love: Fifteen Poems
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Fifteen famous love poems and cabaret songs written in the thirties by W. H. Auden, including 'Funeral Blues' as featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral starring Hugh Grant and Andie Macdowell.

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The publication of this slender volume was inspired by the runaway success of Four Weddings and a Funeral, in which Auden's "Funeral Blues" practically stole the show. Yet every poem in the collection delivers some grandiose or mundane truth about love. There is, for example, the playful "Calypso," in which the recently transplanted Briton anticipates a rendezvous at New York's Grand Central Station: "For there in the middle of that waiting-hall, / Should be standing the one that I love best of all." Several of the pieces here share that jolly air and belting rhythm--in fact, Auden wrote a few of them as cabaret songs. Yet in a poem like "Funeral Blues," the poet's Cole Porter-like flippancy can't mask the underlying sense of grief. "Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves," he suggests, and declares the very emblems of romance redundant: "The stars are not wanted now; put out every one." Finally, there is "Lullaby," one of the great love poems of this century. With immense mystery and power, Auden evokes the preciousness of a single night of passion.

Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Leaving much unexplained, the poet lingers nonetheless over his heartbreaking particulars--and draws the reader back again and again: "Lay your sleeping head, my love, / Human on my faithless arm..." What an astonishing opener. --Cherry Smyth

From the Inside Flap:

W. H. Auden wrote some of the greatest love poetry of the twentieth century.  This book contains ten of his poems about love.  They range in mood from the exhilaration of a new love affair, through love's anxieties and fears, to the sorrow that comes with the end of love.
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