13 July 2005

At Last the Secret Is Out

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire;
Still waters run deep, my dear, there's never smoke without fire.

Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
Under the fatigue, the attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.

For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall,
The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall,
The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss,
There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this.

~ W.H. Auden

2 comments:

Anne said...

Lovely. Malicious. What a great poem. But I want to hear what drew you to quote it. It's so very Auden, isn't it--the combination of cliche and genre fiction and frustrated desire: there's always a secret but this poem STILL isn't telling ITS secret. I'm not sure if it's a great poem or not but it's a little tour de force, isn't it.

amcorrea said...

It sure is! I think my recent reading of The Awakening and (although to a lesser extent) Case Histories gave it a bit of leverage as it leapt off the page... But I must admit that there's not a little personal identification going on as well. (And perhaps this is part of the poem's secret...?)