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Friday, November 16, 2007

For the Time Being

--by WH Auden -- is a must-read for all believers in the Incarnation. It's long, it's weird, and it's incredible. I discovered it a couple of years ago and read it every advent now to experience the pleasant sensation of my brain exploding.

Seeing as Advent has just started, I'll give you a taste of the "Advent" section -- here's the first stanza.




FOR THE TIME BEING
A Christmas Oratorio
(1944)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue
in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.
Romans VI.

I
Chorus

Darkness and snow descend;
The clock on the mantlepiece
Has nothing to recommend,
Nor does the face in the glass
Appear nobler than our own
As darkness and snow descend
On all personality.
Huge crowds mumble --"Alas,
Our angers do not increase,
Love is not what she used to be";
Portly Caesar yawns-- "I know";
He falls asleep on his throne,
They shuffle off through the snow:
Darkness and snow descend.

4 comments:

Mimi said...

Beautiful, Matushka. I've never heard of this poem. Thank you!

Simply Victoria said...

I have loved auden since, well, since forever.
thank you for this.
I hadn't read this yet.

Matthew Francis said...

A good friend of ours stages a reading of "For the Time Being," in his living room every Boxing Day. We've gotten in on it a couple of years. He always reads Pilate.

gore53 said...

It's June, and warm here in LA, yet for some reason I set about reading Auden's oratorio. Out of curiosity I googled in the line "darkness and snow descend" and came upon your blog. Whereas many would believe our hi-tech information age presents a disconnect -- I happen to see the opposite: How else would one happen across people of like mind and spirit? When viewed rightly this present age (...for all its frenetic pace) can be a blessing. But then again, good and evil lay within the active choice of will.