As I walked out one evening
     W.H. Auden
   


     
              As I walked out one evening,

                       Walking down Bristol Street,
                    The crowds upon the pavement
                       Were fields of harvest wheat.
 
                    And down by the brimming river
                       I heard a lover sing
                    Under an arch of the railway:
                       'Love has no ending.
 
                    'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
                       Till China and Africa meet,
                    And the river jumps over the mountain
                       And the salmon sing in the street,
 
                    'I'll love you till the ocean
                       Is folded and hung up to dry
                    And the seven stars go squawking
                       Like geese about the sky.
 
                    'The years shall run like rabbits,
                       For in my arms I hold
                    The Flower of the Ages,
                       And the first love of the world.'
 
                    But all the clocks in the city
                       Began to whirr and chime:
                    'O let not Time deceive you,
                       You cannot conquer Time.
 
                    'In the burrows of the Nightmare
                       Where Justice naked is,
                    Time watches from the shadow
                       And coughs when you would kiss.
 
                    'In headaches and in worry
                       Vaguely life leaks away,
                    And Time will have his fancy
                       To-morrow or to-day.
 
                    'Into many a green valley
                       Drifts the appalling snow;
                    Time breaks the threaded dances
                       And the diver's brilliant bow.
 
                    'O plunge your hands in water,
                       Plunge them in up to the wrist;
                    Stare, stare in the basin
                       And wonder what you've missed.
 
                    'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
                       The desert sighs in the bed,
                    And the crack in the tea-cup opens
                       A lane to the land of the dead.
 
                    'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
                       And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
                    And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
                       And Jill goes down on her back.
 
                    'O look, look in the mirror?
                       O look in your distress:
                    Life remains a blessing
                       Although you cannot bless.                                    
 
                    'O stand, stand at the window
                       As the tears scald and start;
                    You shall love your crooked neighbour
                       With your crooked heart.'
                
                   It was late, late in the evening,
                       The lovers they were gone;
                    The clocks had ceased their chiming,
                       And the deep river ran on.



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