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    W. H. Auden - The Fall Of Rome

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    poetictouch

    by poetictouch

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    W. H. Auden reads his poem The Fall Of Rome

    The Fall Of Rome
    by W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

    The piers are pummelled by the waves;
    In a lonely field the rain
    Lashes an abandoned train;
    Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

    Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
    Agents of the Fisc pursue
    Absconding tax-defaulters through
    The sewers of provincial towns.

    Private rites of magic send
    The temple prostitutes to sleep;
    All the literati keep
    An imaginary friend.

    Cerebrotonic Cato may
    Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
    But the muscle-bound Marines
    Mutiny for food and pay.

    Caesar's double-bed is warm
    As an unimportant clerk
    Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
    On a pink official form.

    Unendowed with wealth or pity,
    Little birds with scarlet legs,
    Sitting on their speckled eggs,
    Eye each flu-infected city.

    Altogether elsewhere, vast
    Herds of reindeer move across
    Miles and miles of golden moss,
    Silently and very fast.