W. H. Auden: “Lullaby”

The mouth of Krishna by Albarran Cabrera

Lay your sleeping head, my love, 
Human on my faithless arm; 
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.

Soul and body have no bounds: 
To lovers as they lie upon 
Her tolerant enchanted slope 
In their ordinary swoon, 
Grave the vision Venus sends 
Of supernatural sympathy, 
Universal love and hope; 
While an abstract insight wakes 
Among the glaciers and the rocks 
The hermit’s sensual ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity 
On the stroke of midnight pass 
Like vibrations of a bell 
And fashionable madmen raise 
Their pedantic boring cry; 
Every farthing of the cost, 
All the dreaded cards foretell, 
Shall be paid, but from this night 
Not a whisper, not a thought, 
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies: 
Let the winds of dawn that blow 
Softly round your dreaming head 
Such a day of sweetness show 
Eye and knocking heart may bless, 
Find the mortal world enough; 
Noons of dryness see you fed 
By the inovluntary powers, 
Nights of the insult let you pass 
Watched by every human love.

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