March 15, 2023

From Gerald R. Lucas

The More Loving One[1]
By: W. H. Auden (1957)[2]

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 5
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, 10
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, 15
Though this might take me a little time.


  1. More often than not, this poem is interpreted as being about unrequited love, impermanence, and the insignificance of humanity. Sure, but it might be more about the importance of passion in the face of the inevitable night. While others, those we know, don’t know, and can never know might feel indifference toward us, it could be worse. I’d rather have my spark of passion than be cowed by the “empty sky.”
  2. Auden, W. H. (1960). Homage to Clio. New York: Random House.