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"As I Walked Out One Evening," by W. H. Auden (Sosa copy)

Author: W. H. Auden

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As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

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Apr 8
ELAI SOSA (Apr 08 2019 9:07AM) : Where is Bristol Street? [Edited] more

There is a Bristol Street in Brooklyn, New York, but since I know W.H. Auden is from the U.K. I redirected my search to England. I knew that Bristol is a city and county in southwest England so I assumed that “Bristol Street” would be in England as well.

My research concluded that Bristol Street is in Birmingham, U.K.

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Apr 8
ELAI SOSA (Apr 08 2019 9:08AM) : Where is Bristol Street? more

There is a Bristol Street in Brooklyn, New York, but since I know W.H. Auden is from the U.K. I redirected my search to England. I knew that Bristol is a city and county in southwest England so I assumed that “Bristol Street” would be in England as well.

My research concluded that Bristol Street is in Birmingham, U.K.

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Apr 8
ELAI SOSA (Apr 08 2019 9:25AM) : What does "harvest wheat" infer? more

Wheat grown to harvest tends to be crowded up together in organized rows and columns. I can assume from this metaphor that the “crowds upon the pavement” were very crowded and packed.

This poem was written in the mid 1930s, approximately during the Great Depression. Many English were unemployed and poor and Birmingham, (where Bristol Street is located) was especially hit by this economic crisis. This can explain why the streets were crowded like “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.

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‘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,

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‘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.

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‘The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

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But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

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May 8
NATHAN SCHACHTER (May 08 2019 9:45AM) : This paragraph talks about how you cannot beat time. Is the author talking about mortality and how at some point time catches up to all of us.
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‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

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‘In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

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‘Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver’s brilliant bow.

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‘O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you’ve missed.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

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‘O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'

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It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

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From Another Time by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden, renewed by the Estate of W. H. Auden. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

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DMU Timestamp: March 07, 2019 02:52

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May 8
NATHAN SCHACHTER (May 08 2019 9:46AM) : The second and fourth lines of each stanza rhyme. This helps the poem flow.
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