Have a Good Time


This is an evolving blog on reading and looking, theory, politics, music, and abolition, and definitely other things as well. Its name comes from the title of an early poem by W.H. Auden, below.

If you’d like to contact us, or to contribute something to the blog, feel free to write to amapofthecountry [at] gmail [dot] com.

Have a Good Time
‘We have brought you,’ they said, ‘a map of the country;
Here is the line that runs to the vats,
This patch of green on the left is the wood,
We’ve pencilled an arrow to point out the bay.
No thank you, no tea; why look at the clock.
Keep it?  Of course.  It goes with our love.

We shall watch your future and send our love.
We lived for years, you know, in the country.
Remember at week-ends to wind up the clock.
We’ve wired to our manager at the vats.
The tides are perfectly safe in the bay,
But whatever you do don’t go to the wood.

There’s a flying trickster in that wood,
And we shan’t be there to help with our love.
Keep fit by bathing in the bay,
You’ll never catch fever then in the country.
You’re sure of a settled job at the vats
If you keep their hours and live by the clock.’

He arrived at last; it was time by the clock.
He crossed himself as he passed the wood;
Black against evening sky the vats
Brought tears to his eyes as he thought of their love;
Looking out over the darkening country,
He saw the pier in the little bay.

At the week-ends the divers in the bay
Distracted his eyes from the bandstand clock;
When down with fever and in the country
A skein of swans above the wood
Caused him no terror; he came to love
The moss that grew on the derelict vats.

And he has met sketching at the vats
Guests from the new hotel by the bay;
Now, curious, following his love,
His pulses differing from the clock,
Finds consummation in the wood
And sees for the first time the country.

Sees water in the wood and trees by the bay,
Hears a clock striking near the vats:
‘This is your country and the hour of love.’

1 Comment »

  1. One of my favorite Auden poems; glad to find it here.

    Comment by Nicholas Clifford — October 28, 2014 @ 10:59 pm |Reply

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