I thought I would celebrate Valentine’s Day by quoting a short passage from W. H. Auden’s “The Common Life.” This poem has long been a special one for me. Today it’s a reminder of what Valentine’s Day is all about for me, a celebration of the common life one builds with someone special.

My favorite excerpt is from the middle of the poem:

…………………. What draws
singular lives together in the first place,
loneliness, lust, ambition,

or mere convenience, is obvious, why they drop
or murder one another
clear enough: how they create, though, a common world
between them, like Bombelli’s

impossible yet useful numbers, no one
has yet explained. Still, they do
manage to forgive impossible behavior,
to endure by some miracle

conversational tics and larval habits
without wincing (were you to die,
I should miss yours). ………….

How two people come together and create a “common world” is amazing. That it can be sustained for years at a time is almost incomprehensible. Yet, somehow I’ve managed to do both with someone I love very much. I’m tremendously lucky.

I also love the poem’s final lines:

……………………  though truth and love
can never really differ, when they seem to,
the subaltern should be truth.

Advertisements