W. H. Auden reads his poem The Capital
by W. H. Auden (1907- 1973)
Quarter of pleasures where the rich are always waiting,
Waiting expensively for miracles to happen,
O little restaurant where the lovers eat each other,
Cafe where exiles have established a malicious village;
You with your charm and your apparatus have abolished
The strictness of winter and spring's compulsion;
Far from your lights the outraged punitive father,
The dullness of mere obedience here is apparent.
Yet with orchestras and glances, O, you betray us
To belief in our infinite powers; and the innocent
Unobservant offender falls in a moment
Victim to his heart's invisible furies.
In unlighted streets you hide away the appalling;
Factories where lives are made for a temporary use
Like collars or chairs, rooms where the lonely are battered
Slowly like pebbles into fortuitous shapes.
But the sky you illumine, your glow is visible far
Into the dark countryside, the enormous, the frozen,
Where, hinting at the forbidden like a wicked uncle,
Night after night to the farmer's children you beckon.