March 2, 2010
About suffering they were never wrong,
Notes and Commentary
- Reading Auden today for my 20th-century British Poetry and Prose class. I was particularly struck by this poem and its matter-of-fact tone. It seems to point out the indifference of the world, the universe, and other humans to individual suffering. And not only suffering, but the mundane aspects of daily life make us miss the wonders of the world around us. How much do we miss conducting the business of our lives, especially when the business seems the most important? I would ask our Georgia state legislators to consider this while they're crippling the university system. What do you think, Sonny? Do you see Icarus falling?
- Auden’s meditation on human suffering places it in the realm of the everyday, and in the context of great tragedy. As asserts, “normality and suffering coexist and may indeed be inseparable” (Emig 2000, p. 129).
- Emig, Ranier (2000). W. H. Auden: Towards a Postmodern Poetics. New York: St. Martin’s Press.