गुलाब का फूल

English: Rashtrapati Bhawan illuminated on 26-...

English: Rashtrapati Bhawan illuminated on 26-29 Jan, every year on occasion of Indian Republic Day Anniversary. हिन्दी: राष्ट्रपति भवन, को प्रतिवर्ष २१६-२९ जनवरी तक गणतंत्र दिवस की वर्षगांठ के उपलक्ष्य में प्रकाशित किया जाता है। (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

छोटी सी मिनी बिटिया स्कूल से दौड़ती घर पहुँची तो सीधे नानी के पास गई और बोली, “नानी, देखो मैं दौड़ में पहला नंबर आयी हूँ। मुझे ये कप मिला है।”

नानी ने अपना चश्मा लगाया और कप अपने हाथ में लेकर देखा और बोली, “शाबाश बिटिया, ये तो बहुत प्यारा कप है।

अच्छा बताओ, इस बात पर तुम्हें मेरे पास से क्या मिलेगा?”

“एक रुपया,” मिनी ने खुशी से उचकते हुए कहा।

“कैसे जाना कि मैं तुम्हें एक रुपया दूँगी,” नानी ने प्रश्न किया।

“वाह, नानी भूल गये। इसके पहले जब भी मैं परीक्षा में पहला नंबर आयी आपने मुझे एक रुपया ही तो दिया था,” मिनी बोली।

“तो उन रुपयों का तुमने क्या किया?” नानी पूछा।

“वो सारे मैंने गुल्लक में डाल दिये,” मिनी ने जवाब दिया।

“देखो, अब जो मैं तुमको रुपया दूँ तो उसे गुल्लक में मत डालना। उसे जो तुम्हारे मन में भाये उसमें खर्च करना। ठीक है।” यह कह नानी ने मिनी को एक रुपया दिया और कहा, “जा, इससे कुछ खरीद ले।”

बाज़ार मिनी के घर के पास था। मिनी रुपया लेकर बाज़ार तरफ दौड़ पड़ी। वहाँ उसने सड़क पर खूब भीड़ देखी। सड़क पर वर्दी पहने सैनिक धुन बजाते मार्च कर रहे थे और सड़क के दोनों ओर लोग कतारबद्ध खड़े थे। मिनी ने देखा कि भीड़ में प्रायः सभी लोगों के हाथ में पुष्पगुच्छ थे। उसने सोचा कि शायद सड़क पर से किसी परी की सवारी जा रही होगी और उसको फूल भेंट करने लोग जमा हैं। फिर उसने सोचा कि हो सकता है कि कोई राजकुमार जिसकी कहानी नानी बताती थी वही जा रहा हो। इस तरह के अनेक विचार उसके मन में उठे। वह वहाँ से दौड़ पड़ी और फूलवाले के पास के पास जाकर उसने नानी का दिया रुपया दिखाकर कहा, “क्या वह उसे एक रुपये में फूल का गुच्छा दे सकेगा?”

फूलवाले ने मुस्कुराकर कहा, “बेटा, इस एक रुपये में तो मैं एक गुलाब का फूल ही दे सकूँगा।”
मिनी ने कहा, “ठीक है,” और वह एक गुलाब का फूल लेकर भीड़ की तरफ दौड़ी। परन्तु भीड़ में उसे अंदर जाने नहीं मिल रहा था। तभी एक जवान सैनिक की नज़र उस पर पड़ी। वह दूसरी तरफ से भीड़ चीरता मिनी के पास आया और मिनी को गोद में उठाकर अपने साथ ले वहाँ ले चला जहाँ सैनिकों मार्च करते बढ़ रहे थे और उनके पीछे एक फूलों से ढकी तोपगाड़ी जा रही थी। वह सैनिक उसे तोपगाड़ी के पास ले गया। अचानक बैंड की धुन बंद हो गई और मार्च करते सैनिक रुक गये। जवान ने गोदी से उतारकर मिनी को तोपगाड़ी के पायदान पर खड़ा कर दिया। मिनी ने तुरंत उस तोपगाड़ी के फूलों के ढ़ेर पर अपना गुलाब का फूल रख दिया। सब सैनिकों ने मिनी को सलाम किया और उनकी देखा-सीखी में मिनी ने भी तोपगाड़ी के पायदान पर ही खड़े रहकर अपना नन्हा-सा हाथ उठाकर सलाम किया। तभी बैंड की धुन पुनः बज उठी।

जवान ने आगे बढ़कर मिनी को फिर से गोदी पर उठा लिया और सड़क किनारे उतार दिया। मिनी ने देखा कि जवान की आँखें गीली हो उठीं थी। मिनी ने अपनी नन्ही-सी हथेली से उस जवान के आँसू पोंछे। पास खड़ी भीड़ के लोगों में से किसी ने मिनी की पीठ थपथपाई तो किसी ने उसे गोदी में उठाकर उसके गालों पर चुम्मी दी। मिनी खुशी से दौड़ती अपने घर तरफ जाने लगी। तभी फूल की दुकानवाले ने उसे बुलाया और कहा, “बिटिया रानी! तूने तो मेरे दिये फूल की बहुत शान बढ़ाई है। यह अपना दिया रुपया वापस ले।”

मिनी ने घर आकर नानी को सारी किस्सा बताई, तो नानी ने कहा, “मिनी बिटिया, जानती है तूने क्या किया? तूने वह गुलाब का फूल एक शहीद को भेंट किया है। मेरे दिये एक रुपये का तूने सम्मान किया है। मैं इस बात पर तुम्हें एक रुपया और देती हूँ।”

तब मिनी ने अपने नन्ही-सी हथेली खोलकर नानी को बताया, “नानी, वो फूलवाले ने भी मुझे बुलाकर मेरा रुपया वापस दिया और कहा कि मैंने उसके दिये फूल की शान बढ़ाई है, इसलिये वह रुपया वापस दे रहा है। मैंने वह रुपया ले लिया। ठीक किया ना, नानी।”

“मेरी प्यारी बच्ची,” नानी ने मिनी को गोदी में उठाकर कहा, “तू पैसे का अच्छा उपयोग करना जानती है, इसलिये ही फूलवाले ने तुझे वह रुपया वापस किया है।”

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कंजूस राजा

चन्द्रपुर का राजा अपने कंजूस स्वभाव के नाम से जाना जाता था। वह मजदूरों से काम करवाता, किसानों से अनाज लेता, सुनारों से आभूषण बनवाता पर पैसा देते वक़्त कुछ भी मनगढ़ंत क़िस्सा बनाकर उन्हें खाली हाथ भिजवा देता। लोग चुप रहते। आखिर राजा से कौन बहस करता। फिर भी राजा के इस आचरण से त्रसित होकर सुनार नकली आभूषण देने लगे और व्यापारी मिलावटी माल व किसान खराब अनाज राजा के पास पहुँचाने लगे। खराब अनाज व मिलावटी चीजों के सेवन से राजा की तबीयत खराब रहने लगी। वह बिस्तर से लग गया। राजा ने मंत्री से कहकर देवशर्मा नामक वैद्य को बुलवाया। राजा की सेहत का सवाल था, इसलिये देवशर्मा ने महंगी जड़ी-बूटी लेकर दवा बनाई और राजा को दी। राजा की तबीयत एकदम ठीक हो गई।

परन्तु जब वैद्य को पैसे देने की बात आयी तो राजा ने कहा, “वैद्यजी, कल सपने में मेरे पिताश्री ने बताया कि तुम्हारे पिता उनके खास वैद्य थे और उन्होंने खुश होकर तुम्हारे पिता को पेशगी बतौर बहुत सारा पैसा दिया था और कहा था कि वे अपने बेटे को भी वैद्य बनाये ताकि वह भी उनकी तरह मेरे पिताश्री के बेटे याने मेरी चिकित्सा अच्छे से करे। सो तो तुम कर ही रहे हो और इस काम का पैसा तुम्हारे पिता मेरे पिता से पहले ही पेशगी बतौर ले चुके हैं।”

यह सुन देवशर्मा चुप रहा और खाली हाथ घर लौट आया। कुछ दिनों बाद राजा की तबीयत फिर बिगड़ी और देवशर्मा को पुनः बुलवाया गया। देवशर्मा इस समय सतर्क था। उसने राजा से कहा, “राजन्! कल ही मुझे सपने में मेरे पिताजी ने बताया कि वे आपके पिताश्री का बहुत सम्मान करते थे। पेशगी बतौर पैसे पाकर मेरे पिताजी ने आपके पिताश्री से कहा, “पता नहीं कि मेरा बेटा मेरे जैसा अच्छा वैद्य बन पावेगा या नहीं। इसलिये हे राजन्, आपने जो पैसे दिये हैं उससे मैंने बहुत ही कीमती और बढ़िया दवा बनाई है जिसे आप ले लेंगे तो आपका बेटा कभी बीमार पड़ेगा ही नहीं और बीमार हुआ भी तो अपने आप ठीक हो जावेगा।”

वह दवा आपके पिताश्री ने ले ली थी। अतः आप निश्चिंत रहें। आप की तबीयत अपने आप ठीक हो जावेगी।”

यह बात सुन राजा की आँखें खुल गयी और उसका कंजूसी रफूचक्कर हो गई।

ભણતરનો ભાર – (બાળનાટક)

* * * *

(પિન્ટુ શાળાએથી છૂટીને ઘરે આવે છે.)

મમ્મી – આવી ગયો બેટા !
પિન્ટુ – (થાકીને લોથપોથ થયેલી હાલતમાં) હા મમ્મી !
પિન્ટુ – મમ્મી, કાલથી મને એક કોથળો લાવી દેજે…
મમ્મી – (આશ્ચર્યથી) કોથળો !! કેમ ?
પિન્ટુ – આ જો ને, બુક્સના ભારથી મારું બેગ પણ ફાટી ગયું છે, હવે આટલી બધી ઢગલો બુક્સ તો કોથળામાંજ સમાય ને ?
મમ્મી – (હસીને) જા, જા, જલ્દી જા, કપડાં બદલીને દૂધ પી લે અને નાસ્તો કરી લે..
પિન્ટુ – કેમ મમ્મી આજે તું બધું જલ્દી જલ્દી કરવાનું કહે છે?
મમ્મી – અરે વાહ ! ભૂલી ગયો ? આજથી તારે સંગીત ક્લાસમાં જવાનું છે.
પિન્ટુ – (મોં બગાડીને) ઉહું, મમ્મી મને સંગીતમાં રસ નથી, મારે નથી જાવું.
મમ્મી – સંગીત તો સાધના કહેવાય બેટા, ચાલ જો, જલ્દીથી તૈયાર થઈ જા !
પિન્ટુ – પણ મમ્મી ….

(મમ્મી પિન્ટુની કોઈ વાત સાંભળવા તૈયાર નથી.)

મમ્મી – જા બેટા, નહીંતો પહેલા જ દિવસે મોડું થઈ જશે.

(પિન્ટુ પગ પછાડતો રૂમમાં જાય છે. તે પછી પિન્ટુની મમ્મી તેને બળજબરીથી સંગીત શીખવા મોકલે છે જેમાં તેને સહેજ પણ રસ નથી. થોડી વાર પછી)

મમ્મી – અરે વાહ, આવી ગયો બેટા !
પિન્ટુ – (મોં બગાડીને) મને જરા પણ મજા ન આવી.
મમ્મી – (તેને સમજાવતા) અરે, એમ ન બોલાય બેટા, થોડા દિવસોમાં બધુંય આવડી જશે.
પિન્ટુ – પણ મમ્મી મારે સંગીત ક્લાસમાં નહીં, કરાટે ક્લાસમાં જવું છે.
મમ્મી – બસ હવે, એ બધી વાતો પછી, ચાલ હવે હોમવર્ક કરવા બેસ જોઈએ.
પિન્ટુ – (કંટાળીને) મમ્મી, અત્યારે હું થાકી ગયો છું.
મમ્મી – પણ પિન્ટુ, હોમવર્ક તો કરવું જ પડશે ને !! વળી ડેઈલી ડાયરીમાં રિમાર્કસ મળશે. ચાલ હવે લઈ લે તારું હોમવર્ક, જલદી જા.

(મમ્મી જેમતેમ કરીને પિન્ટુ પાસે જબરજસ્તીથી હોમવર્ક કરાવે છે.)

(બીજા દિવસે પિન્ટુ શાળાએથી થાકીને ઘરે આવે છે.)

મમ્મી – આવી ગયો દીકરા, ચાલ જલ્દી ફ્રેશ થઈ જા.
પિન્ટુ – (ગુસ્સે થઈને) ના મમ્મી, મારે સંગીત ક્લાસમાં નથી જવું, હું નહીં જાઊ, મારે રમવા જવું છે.
મમ્મી – તો પછી ક્યાંય નથી જવાનું, બેસી રહે ઘરમાં.

(પિન્ટુ નિરાશ થઈ જાય છે અને પોતાના રૂમમાં ચાલ્યો જાય છે. થોડી વાર પછી, તેના પપ્પા ઓફીસથી આવીને આરામ કરતાં છાપું વાંચતા હોય છે ત્યારે, તે બહારના ઓરડામાં આવે છે.)

પિન્ટુ – પપ્પા, હું ક્રિકેટ રમવા જાઊં, મારે ક્રિકેટ રમવું છે.
પપ્પા – (ગુસ્સે થઈને) ના, જરાય નહીં, ક્યાંય નથી જવાનું, ચાલો હવે હોમવર્ક કરવા બેસો.
પિન્ટુ – પણ પપ્પા, મારે ક્રિકેટ રમવા જવું છે.
પપ્પા – એક વાર કહ્યું ને કે ક્યાંય નથી જવાનું, રમવા જવું એ શું વળી ? આખો દિવસ બેટ બોલ ઉલાળીને રમ્યા કરવાનું ને સમય બગાડ્યા કરવાનો..

(ત્રીજો દિવસ, મમ્મી અને પિન્ટુ વચ્ચે વાતચીત ચાલી રહી છે.)

મમ્મી – (હાથમાં પરીક્ષાનું પરિણામ છે તે જોઈને) જોયું, કેટલા ઓછા માર્ક્સ આવ્યા છે આ વખતે ? વિકીનું રિપોર્ટકાર્ડ જોયું તે? પૂરા માર્ક્સ જ આવ્યા હશે એને.. !!
પિન્ટુ – પણ મમ્મી મને તેનાથી ખાલી ત્રણ માર્ક્સ જ ઓછા આવ્યા છે.
મમ્મી – ઓછા એટલે ઓછા, કેટલી વખત કહ્યું કે બેટ દડા ઉલાળવાનું બંધ કર અને વાંચતો જા, પણ તું ક્યાં સમજે જ છે. હવે પછીની ટેસ્ટમાં વિકીથી વધારે માર્કસ આવવા જ જોઈએ, સમજ્યો ?
પિન્ટુ – પણ મમ્મી, આખો દિવસ ભણી ભણીને થાકી જઊં છું, હવે રમવા જાઊં ?
મમ્મી – વળી પાછું રમવાનું નામ લીધું ? જા જઈને વાંચવા બેસ ને ગણિતના દાખલા ગણ.
પિન્ટુ – (મોં બગાડીને પગ પછાડે છે) આખો દિવસ ભણભણ કર્યા કરવાનું… (રૂમમાં જતો રહે છે.)
મમ્મી – (પિન્ટુના રૂમમાં જાય છે જ્યાં પિન્ટુ કાગળ પર પેનથી આડાઅવળા લીટા તાણે છે, મમ્મી ગુસ્સે થઈ જાય છે.) આ શું કરે છે તું? તને કહ્યું ને કે વાંચવા બેસ કે મેથ્સની પ્રેક્ટિસ કર !!
પિન્ટુ – (જીદ કરે છે) મમ્મી, મારે રમવા જવું છે, તું સમજતી કેમ નથી ?
મમ્મી – વાહ, તું તારી મમ્મીને સમજાવીશ ? ચાલ હવે વાંચવા બેસ.
(પિન્ટુએ ફરજીયાત ભણવા બેસવું પડે છે.)

(ચોથો દિવસ, પિન્ટુ ખુશ થતો મમ્મી પાસે જઈને કાંઈક બતાવી રહ્યો છે.)

પિન્ટુ – મમ્મી, મમ્મી, આ જો મેં શું બનાવ્યું છે ?
(પિન્ટુએ સરસ મજાની પરી અને તેના હાથમાં જાદૂઈ છડી હોય તેવું સુંદર ચિત્ર દોર્યું છે.)
પિન્ટુ – મમ્મી મારે પેઈન્ટિંગના ક્લાસ કરવા છે.
મમ્મી – આ ચિતરડા તો ઠીક છે પણ એમાં પેઈન્ટિંગ ક્લાસની વાત ક્યાંથી આવી ? તને સંગીત ક્લાસમાં જવાનું કહ્યું તો મોં ચડાવે છે, જો આ બાજુવાળો કેવા સરસ તબલાં વગાડે છે ? તને આવડે છે કાંઈ ? ડોબો…
પિન્ટૂ – પણ મમ્મી, તેનો શોખ અલગ છે. એને આવું દોરતા નહીં આવડતું હોય, તું પૂછજે એને. મારો શોખ અલગ છે. હું ગમે એટલી મહેનત કરું, મને તબલા વગાડતાં નહીં આવડે કારણકે મને તેમાં રસ નથી.
મમ્મી – ઓહો..હો, હવે તું પાછો મને સમજાવવા માંડ્યો !! એકેય ક્લાસમાં નથી જવાનું તારે, પછી તું ભણવામાં ધ્યાન આપતો નથી, હમણાં નેક્સૃટ ટર્મની એક્ઝામ આવી જશે.

(પિન્ટુના પપ્પા આવે છે.)

મમ્મી – લો સાંભળો, તમારા લાડકાને પેઈન્ટિંગ ક્લાસ કરવા છે, ભણવામાં તો પૂરો પડતો નથી.
પપ્પા – (બેસતાં કહે છે) જો પિન્ટુ, એન્જીનીયર બનવા માટે પૂરેપુરું ધ્યાન ભણવામાં જ આપ, આવા બધાં શોખ નહીં રાખવાના.
પિન્ટુ – (ચીડાઈને) પણ પપ્પા, મારે એન્જીનીયર નથી બનવું, ક્રિકેટર બનવું છે.
પપ્પા – એક વાર કહ્યું ને બેટા, મારી ઈચ્છા છે કે તું એન્જીનીયર જ બને.
પિન્ટુ – પણ પપ્પા, ક્રિકેટ ……(પિન્ટુને અધવચ્ચે અટકાવીને)
પપ્પા – જો પિન્ટુ, પહેલાંય તને કહ્યું હતું, રમત સમયનો વ્યય છે. બધાં કાંઈ સચિન નથી બનતા, તારે એન્જીનીયરીંગની લાઈન લેવાની છે એટલે અત્યારથી ભણવામાં વધારે ધ્યાન આપ, ચાલ જઈને ભણવા બેસી જા.

(પિન્ટુ ઘીમા પગલે નિરાશ ચહેરે પોતાના ઓરડામાં જાય છે.
દિવસે ને દિવસે પીન્ટુ ઉદાસ રહેવા લાગે છે. તેને ક્રિકેટ રમવા મળતું નથી પોતાનો શોખ પૂરો કરવા પેન્ટિગ કલાસ જઈ શકાતું નથી.
બસ આખો દિવસ સ્કૂલ હોમવર્ક વાચવાનું લખવાનું…., આ બધાથી તે ખૂબ જ થાકી જાય છે. એવામાં એક દિવસ યથાર્થ કે જે પીન્ટુનો બેસ્ટ ફ્રેન્ડ છે તે તેના ઘરે રમવા આવે છે.)

યથાર્થ – હેય પીન્ટુ હાઉ આર યું? શું કરે છે? ચલ રમીએ…
પીન્ટુ – હેય યથાર્થ આવ.
પીન્ટુ – ચાલ યથાર્થ આપણે કેરમ રમીએ…

(બન્ને કેરમ રમે છે.)

યથાર્થ – (રમતા, રમતા.) કેમ પીન્ટુ તું હમણાં ઉદાસ દેખાય છે ? કોઈ તને ખિજાયું છે ? ?
પીન્ટુ – (નિરાશ થઈને) કોઈ નહિ બસ એમ જ.

(યથાર્થ બ્લેક કુકરીનું નિશાન લે છે. પછી સ્ટ્રાઈકરથી શોટ મારે છે. કુકરી ફટ કરતી હોલમાં પડે છે.)
યથાર્થ – યસસ…..

પીન્ટુ – અરે વાહ. તે તો મસ્ત શોટ માર્યો…
(પછી થોડીવાર સુધી બન્ને કેરમ જ રમે છે.)

યથાર્થ – બસ યાર… ચલ હવે કાંઈક બીજું રમીએ. (ત્યાં યથાર્થ પીન્ટુનું બેટ જુએ છે.)  હેય નાવ લેટ’સ પ્લે ક્રિકેટ.

પીન્ટુ – ક્રિકેટ??  ના ના.. ક્રિકેટ નહિ પપ્પાએ ક્રિકેટ રમવાની ના પાડી છે.
યથાર્થ – (નવાઈથી) પણ કેમ?
પીન્ટુ – પપ્પાએ કીધું કે ક્રિકેટ નહિ રમવાનું. એ સમયની બરબાદી છે.
યથાર્થ – પણ ક્રિકેટ રમવાની તો કેવી મજા આવે છે. મને તો મારા પપ્પા કોઈ દિવસ ના નથી પાડતાં. મારે જે રમવું હોય તે રમવાનું.

પીન્ટુ – ખરેખર? તારા પપ્પા તને કદી કંઇ કરવાની ના પાડતા નથી?

યથાર્થ – ના… બસ એકવાતનું ધ્યાન રાખવાનું કે કોઈનું નુકશાન નથાવું જોઈએ અને બહુ તોફાન નહિ કરવાનાં.

પીન્ટુ – (નિરાશ થઈને) તારે તો કેવું સારું. હું તો તોફાન પણ નથી કરતો તો પણ ક્રિકેટ નહિ રમવાનું. પેન્ટિંગ નહિ કરવાનું. આ નહિ ને પેલું નહિ… તું તો લકી છો યાર.

યથાર્થ – હા. મારા મમ્મી પપ્પા બહુ જ સારા છે. મને જે કરવું હોય તે કરવા દે છે.મારે જે ક્લાસ જૉઇન કરવા હોય તે છૂટ. મને પેન્ટિંગમાં રસ નહોતો માટે મે મમ્મીને ના પાડી. તો મમ્મીએ કહ્યું કે વાંધો નહિ બેટા કશું ફરજિયાત નથી જે વસ્તુમાં રસ ન હોય તે નહિ કરવાનું. જેનો જેવો શોખ હોય તેમજ કરવું જોઈએ.

(એટલામાં યથાર્થના મમ્મી પપ્પા તેને લેવા આવે છે. પીન્ટુના મમ્મી – પપ્પા તેને વેલકમ કરે છે…)

પીન્ટુના મમ્મી – આવો આવો ઘણો વખતે આવ્યાં બેસો.

પીન્ટુના પપ્પા – કેમ છો? શું ચાલે છે? મજામાં ને??

યથાર્થના પપ્પા – બસ બઘું બરાબર ચાલે છે. તમે કેમ છો?

પીન્ટુના પપ્પા – બસ મજામાં…

(તે દરમ્યાન પીન્ટુના મમ્મી પાણી લાવે છે. પછી બઘા વાતોએ વળગે છે.)

પીન્ટુના પપ્પા – શું કહે છે યથાર્થનો પ્રોગેસ?

યથાર્થના પપ્પા – જુઓ હું તો માનું છું કે બાળકોને તેમની રીતે આગળ વધવા દેવા જોઈએ. ખોટી બળજબરીથી તેમનો વિકાસ અટકી જાય છે. યથાર્થ પર અમે કોઈ જ બળજબરી કરતાં નથી. તેને વાચવું હોય ત્યારે વાંચેને પછી ફ્રેશ થાવ રમવા જાય. અમે તેને કદી વાંચવા માટે ફોર્સ કરતા નથી. તેના સ્તો સાથે હળેમળે. ગેમ્સ રમે શેરીમાં દોડાદોડી કરે. આ બધાથી તેને ગજબની સ્ફૂર્તી મળે છે.

યથાર્થ ની મમ્મી – એટલું જ નહિ તે પોતાની મરજીથી જ બીજી પ્રવૃતિઓમાં ભાગ લે છે જેમ કે કરાટે, ડાન્સ વગેરે…

પીન્ટુના મમ્મી પપ્પા એકબીજાનું મો તાકવા લાગે છે કારણ કે તેમનું વર્તન પીન્ટુ સાથે સાવ જ વિરોધી હતું. બન્ને ખૂબ ક્ષોભ અનુભવે છે……

યથાર્થની મમ્મી – બાળકોને ઊડવા માટે ખુલ્લું આકાશ આપવું એ મા-બાપની જવાબદારી છે. તેમના પર આપણી ઈચ્છાઓને થોપવી એ તેમની વિકાસ રોકવા બરાબર છે.

યથાર્થના પપ્પા – માટે જ અમે યથાર્થને અમે પૂરી છૂટ આપીએ છીએ.હા પણ તેની ખોટી જીદ નથી ચલાવતા.

યથાર્થની મમ્મી – હમણાં જ એણે કહ્યું કે એને પેન્ટિંગમાં નહિ પણ ડાન્સમાં રસ છે તો એને ડાન્સ ક્લાસ જોઈને કરાવી આપ્યા.

યથાર્થના પપ્પા – ભવિષ્યમાં પણ એણે શું કરવું ક્યા ફિલ્ડમાં આગળ વધવું એ પણ એ જ નક્કિ કરશે.

(પીન્ટુના મમ્મી- પપ્પાને પોતાની ભૂલ સમજાય છે. બન્ને યથાર્થના મમ્મી-પપ્પાની વાતો ગળે ઊતરે છે. તેઓ સમજાય જાય છે કે બન્ને ક્યાં ખોટાં પડ્યાં છે.)

યથાર્થની મમ્મી – આ બધાની સાથે એ પોતાનું સ્ટડિમાં પણ બરાબર ધ્યાન આપે છે એટલે કોઈ ચિંતાની વાત નથી.

યથાર્થના પપ્પા – આજે કદાચ આપણી વાત માનીને એ કોઈ કામ કરવા તૈયાર થશે અને કરશે પણ ખરાં પરંતુ, તે કામમાં એનુ મન નહિ હોય.એ કામ ખાલી કરવાં ખાતર જ કરશે. એને જે કામમાં એની ખુશી ન હોય એ કામનું પણ શું?

યથાર્થ ની મમ્મી – માટે સારું તો એ જ કહેવાયને કે એ કોઈ એવું કામ કરે જેમાં તેને રસ હોય.

(આ બધી વાતો સાંભળીને પીન્ટુંના મમ્મી-પપ્પાનું હદય પરિવર્તન થય છે.)

પીન્ટુના મમ્મી પપ્પા – ઓહ તમે એકદમ સાચા છો. તમે તો મારી આંખો ખોલી નાખી.

યથાર્થના મમ્મી પપ્પા – કેમ કેમ??

પીન્ટુના પપ્પા – જાણ્યે અજાણ્યે અમે પીન્ટુને ઘણો અન્યાય કરી રહ્યાં હતાં. હવે બઘું પીન્ટુની ઈચ્છા મુજબ જ થશે.

પીન્ટુના મમ્મી – (બન્ને બાળકોને બોલાવે છે.) પીન્ટુ, યથાર્થ….

પીન્ટુના પપ્પા – હવેથી તારે જે ક્લાસ જોઈન કરવા હોય તે છૂટ, ઓકે?

પીન્ટુ – (ચહેરો ખીલી ઉઠે છે.) સાચે જ પપ્પા??????

પીન્ટુના મમ્મી – હા બેટા અને તારે કરાટે શીખવું હતુ ને તો કાલથી જ કરાટે કલાસ શરૂ ઓકે?

પીન્ટુ – (પીન્ટુ ખૂબ જ ખુશ થઈ જાય છે.) ખરેખર મમ્મી??

પીન્ટુના પપ્પા – અને હા પીન્ટુ ભવિષ્યમાં પણ તારી કારકિર્દીનો નિર્ણય પણ તારો જ રહેશે. હો કે.

(પીન્ટુને તો જાણે ઊડવાનું ખુલ્લું આકાશ મળી ગયું હોય તેમ ખુશીથી નાચી ઉઠે છે.)
યેયેયેયે….

(પીન્ટુને ખુશ થયેલો જોઈ તેના મમ્મી પપ્પા પણ ખુશ થઈ જાય છે.)

પીન્ટુના પપ્પા – થેંક્સ ટુ યથાર્થના મમ્મી – પપ્પા. તમારે લીધે આજે અમારા વિચારો બગલાઈ ગયા.

યથાર્થના મમ્મી – પપ્પા – ત્યારે તો અમારું તમારા ઘરે આવવું યથાર્થ સાબિત થયું ખરું ને??

બધા હસી પડે છે.

પીન્ટુ – (યથાર્થનો હાથ પકડે છે.) યાર યથાર્થ તું તો ખરેખર લકી છો મારા માટે.

( બન્ને ભેટી પડે છે.)

 

W.H.Auden ( English Poet)

INTRODUCTION

Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York, England, in 1907. He moved to Birminghamduring childhood and was educated at ChristChurch, Oxford. As a young man he was influenced by the poetry of Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost, as well as William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Old English verse. At Oxford his precocity as a poet was immediately apparent, and he formed lifelong friendships with two fellow writers, Stephen Spender and Christopher Isherwood.

In 1928, his collection Poems was privately printed, but it wasn’t until 1930, when another collection titled Poems (though its contents were different) was published, that Auden was established as the leading voice of a new generation.

Ever since, he has been admired for his unsurpassed technical virtuosity and an ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form; the incorporation in his work of popular culture, current events, and vernacular speech; and also for the vast range of his intellect, which drew easily from an extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms, social and political theories, and scientific and technical information. He had a remarkable wit, and often mimicked the writing styles of other poets such as Dickinson, W. B. Yeats, and Henry James. His poetry frequently recounts, literally or metaphorically, a journey or quest, and his travels provided rich material for his verse.

He visitedGermany,Iceland, andChina, served in the Spanish Civil war, and in 1939 moved to theUnited States, where he met his lover, Chester Kallman, and became an American citizen. His own beliefs changed radically between his youthful career inEngland, when he was an ardent advocate of socialism and Freudian psychoanalysis, and his later phase inAmerica, when his central preoccupation became Christianity and the theology of modern Protestant theologians. A prolific writer, Auden was also a noted playwright, librettist, editor, and essayist. Generally considered the greatest English poet of the twentieth century, his work has exerted a major influence on succeeding generations of poets on both sides of theAtlantic.

W. H. Auden was a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1954 to 1973, and divided most of the second half of his life between residences inNew York City andAustria. He died inVienna in 1973.

A Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Poems (privately printed, 1928)
Poems (1930)
The Orators prose and verse (1932)
Look, Stranger! in America: On This Island (1936)
Spain (1937)
Another Time (1940)
The Double Man (1941)
The Quest (1941)
For the Time Being (1944)
The Sea and the Mirror (1944)
Collected Poetry (1945)
The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (1947)
Collected Shorter Poems 1930-1944 (1950)
Nones (1952)
The Shield of Achilles (1955)
Selected Poetry (1956)
The Old Man’s Road (1956)
Homage to Clio (1960)
About the House About the House (1965)
Collected Shorter Poems 1927-1957 (1966)
Collected Longer Poems (1968)
City without Walls (1969)
Academic Graffiti (1971)
Epistle to a Godson (1972)
Thank You, Fog: Last Poems (1974)
Selected Poems (1979)
Collected Poems (1991)

Prose

Letters from Iceland (1937)
Journey to a War (1939)
Enchaféd Flood (1950)
The Dyer’s Hand (1962)
Selected Essays (1964)
Forewords and Afterwords (1973)

Anthology

Selected Poems by Gunnar Ekelöf (1972)

Drama

Paid On Both Sides (1928)
The Dance of Death (1933)
The Dog Beneath the Skin: or, Where is Francis? (1935)
The Ascent of F.6 (1936)
On the Frontier (1938)

 

 

 

After Reading a Child’s Guide to Modern Physics

 

As the son of a physicist, Auden had an enduring interest in science and the moral issues surrounding it. This recording comes from the 1965 Edinburgh International Festival.

If all a top physicist knows
About the Truth be true,
Then, for all the so-and-so’s,
Futility and grime,
Our common world contains,
We have a better time
Than the Greater Nebulae do,
Or the atoms in our brains.

Marriage is rarely bliss
But, surely it would be worse
As particles to pelt
At thousands of miles per sec
About a universe
Wherein a lover’s kiss
Would either not be felt
Or break the loved one’s neck.

Though the face at which I stare
While shaving it be cruel
For, year after year, it repels
An ageing suitor, it has,
Thank God, sufficient mass
To be altogether there,
Not an indeterminate gruel
Which is partly somewhere else.

Our eyes prefer to suppose
That a habitable place
Has a geocentric view,
That architects enclose
A quiet Euclidian space:
Exploded myths – but who
Could feel at home astraddle
An ever expanding saddle?

This passion of our kind
For the process of finding out
Is a fact one can hardly doubt,
But I would rejoice in it more
If I knew more clearly what
We wanted the knowledge for,
Felt certain still that the mind
Is free to know or not.

It has chosen once, it seems,
And whether our concern
For magnitude’s extremes
Really become a creature
Who comes in a median size,
Or politicizing Nature
Be altogether wise,
Is something we shall learn.

 

 
As I Walked Out One Evening
by 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.

 

Epitaph on a Tyrant

by W. H. Auden

 

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,

And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

 

 

In Memory of W. B. Yeats

by W. H. Auden

 

 

I

 
He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree 
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

II

     You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
     The parish of rich women, physical decay,
     Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
     Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
     For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
     In the valley of its making where executives
     Would never want to tamper, flows on south
     From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
     Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
     A way of happening, a mouth.

III

          Earth, receive an honoured guest:
          William Yeats is laid to rest.
          Let the Irish vessel lie
          Emptied of its poetry.

          In the nightmare of the dark
          All the dogs of Europe bark,
          And the living nations wait,
          Each sequestered in its hate;

          Intellectual disgrace
          Stares from every human face,
          And the seas of pity lie
          Locked and frozen in each eye.

          Follow, poet, follow right
          To the bottom of the night,
          With your unconstraining voice
          Still persuade us to rejoice;

          With the farming of a verse
          Make a vineyard of the curse,
          Sing of human unsuccess
          In a rapture of distress;

          In the deserts of the heart
          Let the healing fountain start,
          In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.

 

 

In Memory of Sigmund Freud

by W. H. Auden

 

When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
when grief has been made so public, and exposed
     to the critique of a whole epoch
   the frailty of our conscience and anguish,

of whom shall we speak? For every day they die
among us, those who were doing us some good,
     who knew it was never enough but
   hoped to improve a little by living.

Such was this doctor: still at eighty he wished
to think of our life from whose unruliness
     so many plausible young futures
   with threats or flattery ask obedience,

but his wish was denied him: he closed his eyes
upon that last picture, common to us all,
     of problems like relatives gathered
   puzzled and jealous about our dying. 

For about him till the very end were still
those he had studied, the fauna of the night,
     and shades that still waited to enter
   the bright circle of his recognition

turned elsewhere with their disappointment as he
was taken away from his life interest
     to go back to the earth in London,
   an important Jew who died in exile.

Only Hate was happy, hoping to augment
his practice now, and his dingy clientele
     who think they can be cured by killing
   and covering the garden with ashes.

They are still alive, but in a world he changed
simply by looking back with no false regrets;
     all he did was to remember
   like the old and be honest like children.

He wasn't clever at all: he merely told
the unhappy Present to recite the Past
     like a poetry lesson till sooner
   or later it faltered at the line where

long ago the accusations had begun,
and suddenly knew by whom it had been judged,
     how rich life had been and how silly,
   and was life-forgiven and more humble,

able to approach the Future as a friend
without a wardrobe of excuses, without
     a set mask of rectitude or an 
   embarrassing over-familiar gesture.

No wonder the ancient cultures of conceit
in his technique of unsettlement foresaw
     the fall of princes, the collapse of
   their lucrative patterns of frustration:

if he succeeded, why, the Generalised Life
would become impossible, the monolith
     of State be broken and prevented
   the co-operation of avengers.

Of course they called on God, but he went his way
down among the lost people like Dante, down
     to the stinking fosse where the injured
   lead the ugly life of the rejected,

and showed us what evil is, not, as we thought,
deeds that must be punished, but our lack of faith,
     our dishonest mood of denial,
   the concupiscence of the oppressor.

If some traces of the autocratic pose,
the paternal strictness he distrusted, still
     clung to his utterance and features,
   it was a protective coloration

for one who'd lived among enemies so long:
if often he was wrong and, at times, absurd,
     to us he is no more a person
   now but a whole climate of opinion

under whom we conduct our different lives:
Like weather he can only hinder or help,
     the proud can still be proud but find it
   a little harder, the tyrant tries to

make do with him but doesn't care for him much:
he quietly surrounds all our habits of growth
     and extends, till the tired in even
   the remotest miserable duchy

have felt the change in their bones and are cheered
till the child, unlucky in his little State,
     some hearth where freedom is excluded,
   a hive whose honey is fear and worry,

feels calmer now and somehow assured of escape,
while, as they lie in the grass of our neglect, 
     so many long-forgotten objects
   revealed by his undiscouraged shining

are returned to us and made precious again;
games we had thought we must drop as we grew up,
     little noises we dared not laugh at,
   faces we made when no one was looking.

But he wishes us more than this. To be free
is often to be lonely. He would unite
     the unequal moieties fractured
   by our own well-meaning sense of justice,

would restore to the larger the wit and will 
the smaller possesses but can only use
     for arid disputes, would give back to
   the son the mother's richness of feeling:

but he would have us remember most of all 
to be enthusiastic over the night,
     not only for the sense of wonder
   it alone has to offer, but also

because it needs our love. With large sad eyes
its delectable creatures look up and beg
     us dumbly to ask them to follow:
   they are exiles who long for the future

that lives in our power, they too would rejoice
if allowed to serve enlightenment like him,
     even to bear our cry of 'Judas', 
   as he did and all must bear who serve it.

One rational voice is dumb. Over his grave
the household of Impulse mourns one dearly loved:
     sad is Eros, builder of cities,

and weeping anarchic Aphrodite.

 

On the Circuit

by W. H. Auden

 

Among pelagian travelers,
Lost on their lewd conceited way
To Massachusetts, Michigan,
Miami or L.A.,

An airborne instrument I sit,
Predestined nightly to fulfill
Columbia-Giesen-Management's
Unfathomable will,

By whose election justified,
I bring my gospel of the Muse
To fundamentalists, to nuns,
to Gentiles and to Jews,

And daily, seven days a week,
Before a local sense has jelled,
From talking-site to talking-site
Am jet-or-prop-propelled.

Though warm my welcome everywhere,
I shift so frequently, so fast,
I cannot now say where I was 
The evening before last,

Unless some singular event
Should intervene to save the place,
A truly asinine remark,
A soul-bewitching face,

Or blessed encounter, full of joy,
Unscheduled on the Giesen Plan,
With, here, an addict of Tolkien,
There, a Charles Williams fan.

Since Merit but a dunghill is,
I mount the rostrum unafraid:
Indeed, 'twere damnable to ask
If I am overpaid.

Spirit is willing to repeat
Without a qualm the same old talk,
But Flesh is homesick for our snug
Apartment in New York.

A sulky fifty-six, he finds
A change of mealtime utter hell,
Grown far too crotchety to like
A luxury hotel.

The Bible is a goodly book
I always can peruse with zest,
But really cannot say the same
For Hilton's Be My Guest.

Nor bear with equanimity
The radio in students' cars,
Muzak at breakfast, or--dear God!--
Girl-organists in bars.

Then, worst of all, the anxious thought,
Each time my plane begins to sink
And the No Smoking sign comes on:
What will there be to drink?

Is this my milieu where I must
How grahamgreeneish!  How infra dig!
Snatch from the bottle in my bag 
An analeptic swig?

Another morning comes: I see,
Dwindling below me on the plane,
The roofs of one more audience
I shall not see again.

God bless the lot of them, although
I don't remember which was which:
God bless the U.S.A., so large,

So friendly, and so rich.

 

Lullaby

by W. H. Auden

 

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 carnal 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 welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass

Watched by every human love.

 

Poem for the day

W. H. Auden (1907 – 73)

If I could tell you

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

 

TWO SONGS FOR HEDLI ANDERSON
in
Selected Poems of W.H. Auden
by W. H. Auden
Vintage

I
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
II
O the valley in the summer where I and my John
Beside the deep river would walk on and on
While the flowers at our feet and the birds up above
Argued so sweetly on reciprocal love,
And I leaned on his shoulder; ‘O Johnny, let’s play’:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O that Friday near Christmas as I well recall
When we went to the Charity Matinee Ball,
The floor was so smooth and the band was so loud
And Johnny so handsome I felt so proud;
‘Squeeze me tighter, dear Johnny, let’s dance till it’s day’:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

Shall I ever forget at the Grand Opera
When music poured out of each wonderful star?
Diamonds and pearls they hung dazzling down
Over each silver and golden silk gown;
‘O John I’m in heaven,’ I whispered to say:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O but he was fair as a garden in flower,
As slender and tall as the great Eiffel Tower,
When the waltz throbbed out on the long promenade
O his eyes and his smile they went straight to my heart;
‘O marry me, Johnny, I’ll love and obey’:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O last night I dreamed of you, Johnny, my lover,
You’d the sun on one arm and the moon on the other,
The sea it was blue and the grass it was green,
Every star rattled a round tambourine;
Ten thousand miles deep in a pit there I lay:
But you frowned like thunder and you went away.

 

September 1, 1939

by W. H. Auden

 

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.

Accurate scholarship can 
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return. 

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire 
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless 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.

 

 

The Fall ofRome

by W. H. Auden

 

(for Cyril Connolly)

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,

Silently and very fast.

 

The More Loving One

by W. H. Auden

read by Nick Laird

 

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,

Though this might take me a little time.

 

The Unknown Citizen

by W. H. Auden

 

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
   saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content 
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace:  when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
   generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
   education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:

Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

 

 

The Shield of Achilles

by W. H. Auden

 

    She looked over his shoulder
       For vines and olive trees,
     Marble well-governed cities
       And ships upon untamed seas,
     But there on the shining metal
       His hands had put instead
     An artificial wilderness
       And a sky like lead.

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
   No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down, 
   Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
   An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line, 
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

Out of the air a voice without a face
   Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
   No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
   Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

     She looked over his shoulder
       For ritual pieties,
     White flower-garlanded heifers,
       Libation and sacrifice,
     But there on the shining metal
       Where the altar should have been,
     She saw by his flickering forge-light
       Quite another scene.

Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot
   Where bored officials lounged (one cracked a joke)
And sentries sweated for the day was hot:
   A crowd of ordinary decent folk
   Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke
As three pale figures were led forth and bound
To three posts driven upright in the ground.

The mass and majesty of this world, all
   That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
   And could not hope for help and no help came:
   What their foes like to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died.

     She looked over his shoulder
       For athletes at their games,
     Men and women in a dance
       Moving their sweet limbs
     Quick, quick, to music,
       But there on the shining shield
     His hands had set no dancing-floor
       But a weed-choked field.

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone, 
   Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
   That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
   Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

     The thin-lipped armorer,
       Hephaestos, hobbled away,
     Thetis of the shining breasts
       Cried out in dismay
     At what the god had wrought
       To please her son, the strong
     Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles

Who would not live long.

TWO SONGS FOR HEDLI ANDERSON
in
Selected Poems of W.H. Auden
by W. H. Auden
Vintage

I
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
II
O the valley in the summer where I and my John
Beside the deep river would walk on and on
While the flowers at our feet and the birds up above
Argued so sweetly on reciprocal love,
And I leaned on his shoulder; ‘O Johnny, let’s play’:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O that Friday near Christmas as I well recall
When we went to the Charity Matinee Ball,
The floor was so smooth and the band was so loud
And Johnny so handsome I felt so proud;
‘Squeeze me tighter, dear Johnny, let’s dance till it’s day’:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

Shall I ever forget at the Grand Opera
When music poured out of each wonderful star?
Diamonds and pearls they hung dazzling down
Over each silver and golden silk gown;
‘O John I’m in heaven,’ I whispered to say:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O but he was fair as a garden in flower,
As slender and tall as the great Eiffel Tower,
When the waltz throbbed out on the long promenade
O his eyes and his smile they went straight to my heart;
‘O marry me, Johnny, I’ll love and obey’:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O last night I dreamed of you, Johnny, my lover,
You’d the sun on one arm and the moon on the other,
The sea it was blue and the grass it was green,
Every star rattled a round tambourine;
Ten thousand miles deep in a pit there I lay:
But you frowned like thunder and you went away.