this has been a ter­ri­ble week. first the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions which have filled the body politic here in the uk, as well as in the usa, and pos­si­bly most of the rest of the world, with a sense of dread for the future. this morn­ing we had the news that leonard cohen had died, and i just post­ed on my face­book ‘there are days when i don’t think i belong here any more’ so here’s this …(from… ) SEPTEMBER 1, 1939

i sit in one of the dives

on fifty-sec­ond street

uncer­tain and afraid

as the clev­er hopes expire

of a low dis­hon­est decade:

waves of anger and fear

cir­cu­late over the bright

and dark­ened lands of the earth,

obsess­ing our pri­vate lives;

the unmen­tion­able odour of death

offends the sep­tem­ber night.

defense­less under the night

our world in stu­por lies;

yet, dot­ted every­where,

iron­ic points of light

flash out wherever the just

exchange their mes­sages:

may i, com­posed like them

of eros and of dust,

belea­guered by the same

nega­tion and despair,

show an affirm­ing flame.

w.h. auden

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