Last call for the symposium at 4 p.m.
to examine the works of W. H. Auden
whom I remember always in carpet slippers.
X from Hum. 101 will discuss the early poems,
Y from Eng. 323 will discuss the later poems
in the symposium that opens at 4 p.m.
Spender famously said, Poor Auden; soon
we’ll have to take off his face and iron it to see who he is.
Perhaps he had bunions, thus the carpet slippers.
Lord Byron, Faustus, Yeats, September 1
1939, these poems should head the list
of works discussed in the symposium at 4 p.m.
which will reaffirm the poet’s place in the pantheon:
wittier than Eliot, more readable than Pound,
both too erudite to read in carpet slippers
but knowing how all the instruments can disagree
and cleverest hopes expire, let us revere
his pleated face in the symposium at 4 p.m.
while I revisit him on stage in carpet slippers.
-- Maxine Kumin
from Prairie Schooner (Spring 2008)