Friday, August 16, 2013

W.H. Auden's 'Humpty Dumpty' by Tom Mathews

W.H. Auden’s ‘Humpty Dumpty’
Tom Mathews

Smash all the timers, let the sands run out,
Prevent the concert in the last redoubt.
Cancel the papers, put the Rolls up on blocks,
Replace the king’s men and his horses in their box.

Print the announcement in the Times with black edges,
Bid the herd cease its sighing in the sedges,
Strip down each blossom from the apple bough;
Cause the wall to be dismantled, he will not need it now.

He was my prose, my verse, my lines, my words.
He was my rose tree full of singing birds.
He was my tortoise in his jewelled shell.
I thought he’d sit on walls forever; but he fell.

Melt all the icecaps, suck the oceans dry.
Burn every copy of ‘The Egg and I’;
Uncover your head and cower in the freezing rain.
For nobody now can put him back together again.


‘Other poets are witty, disappointed, pithy, heart-broken, indignant, erudite, sarcastic and witty (again), but only Tom Mathews is all of these in his own winning Tom Mathews way. His readers – me for one – are lucky to have him.’
— Billy Collins

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