W.H. Auden's 'If I Could Tell You'

W.H. Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who is best known for his long poem ‘The Age of Anxiety’, also wrote, among other books of poetry, essays, plays etc., scripts for films. He also wrote the drama ‘The Ascent of F6’ and ‘The Dog Beneath the Skin’ in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood (who also had been his companion). Anyway my purpose of writing this post is not to explore his life history. I present here one of his most beautifully written poem entitled ‘If I Could Tell You’:


If I Could Tell You

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose all the lions get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know. 

 After going through this poem, I was reminded of dying Hamlet’s last lines in  Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’:

"Had I but time…
…O, I could tell you--
But let it be. . . . "

Another message that has been expressed is that there are some things which cannot be expressed through words, they have to be understood - the things, which even time won't explain. They have to be realised by ourselves only. They are probably the things that are left unsaid. But then, even silence communicates.

Woof Contest dated February 13, 2009

Here are the results of the Woof Contest dated February 13, 2009. My post Who am I? was selected among the top posts.

WOOF Contest – Top Picks


Jennifer M Scott - “Sophie” - A poem about woman who picks a man up in the bar, this is not a love poem think film noir.

Dragon Blogger - “The Illusionist - Poem about a magicians performance made based off of random words provided on twitter.

Web-Betty - “Ode to Red” - A few words for my favorite varietal.

Daisy Bookworm - “Love Letter” - An unconventional love letter written to a very unlikely suspect.


Amritbir Kaur - Who am I?” - We often try avoid answering the question: Who am I? But trying to answer it is a good exercise. It is a step towards understanding one's own self.

Who am I?

I am what life makes me. I change each day. I evolve with each passing moment. I wake up every morning as a new person ready to face a new day ahead. But this does not mean that I am a hypocrite or I don’t possess the quality of constancy. This change can rather be attributed to be adjustable nature that is ever ready to absorb the varied shades of life. Inspite of the variations, there is an underlying current of the personality that is as solid as a rock and doesn’t change. That’s my true self.
Beneath lies the person, who is pleased to hear the chirpy notes in the morning, gladdened by the blooming flowers, who is elated by the success and let down by life’s little failures, who rejoices when a task is accomplished, who is moved by the suffering of others, who hates injustice, who sometimes has tears hanging in laughing eyes, who cherishes the sweet memories, who longs to reconstruct the past, who is dejected by death and separation, who is as afraid of the examinations as anyone else, who desires not to be put to test by life.
This is what I am, this what all of us are. I am just one of you, a one of a kind. We all are just the same and there is no marked difference except for the individual differences. But we as humans have created the divisions, which are so rigid that the world has been separated into airtight compartments. All of us live in isolation. There is no sense of unity between the mankind, which has led to widespread intolerance and hatred.
Let us all unite and make human beings essentially one – the one of a kind!

Going back...

pic source: www.designtym.com

The SMS have revolutionized the field of communication. While some are just the one time read type, there are others, which are nothing short of being literary jewels in themselves. I would like to share a message here with my readers:

I want to go back to the time

when ‘Dad’s  shoulder was the ‘highest place on Earth’

when your ‘worst enemies’ were ‘your siblings’

when ‘dad’ was the only ‘hero’

when ‘love’ was ‘Mom’s hug’

when the only thing that could ‘hurt’ were ‘skinned knees’

when the only thing ‘broken’ were ‘your toys’

when ‘goodbyes’ only meant ‘till tomorrow’.