A Loss

He disappeared in the dead of winter
W.H. Auden

 

 

The days are nothing but a maze
a search party after the loss
of one who spoke life in life,

a voice that set the heart of the whole
universe to tapping and pounding,
o, how right it was, elated,

bright and fierce in the hour
of youth, that is, a knock,
knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door.

For a search party after a loss
all tracks merge or peter out
behind the tower and the clock,

while the video feed from the lanes
and alleys only ever says:
‘No, no, didn’t see a thing.

No, no, didn’t hear a thing. No,
no, don’t ask us,’ and the city
is a play of ghosts and fog.

The days are nothing but a maze
after a loss and a search party
that just goes on, like all questions

with no perspective, blind as
the winter mist tonight,
drifting over canals and bridges,

swirling around the towers,
deaf to the word that set the heart
of the whole universe tapping and thumping.

 

 

Translation: David Colmer