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> W.H Auden
post Sep 12 03, 07:21
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Edited ~ removed as copyright

This post has been edited by Toumai: Jul 16 06, 08:16
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post Sep 16 03, 19:50
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Potent words Melonpie!

Thank you for adding this poet to our libations!

Well done! We'll need to post in more here down the road..

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post Sep 17 03, 06:45
Post #3


Thanks Melonpie.

I am now a little less ignorant than I was about Auden. Since WH Auden died in 1973 I believe that his work is still in copyright. I will, therefore, offer a link to a site carrying The Night Mail, rather than reproduce it here. I assume that site has copyright permission but readers will have to satisfy themselves.

This is a poem which Auden composed to accompany a General Post Office (GPO) film about how the mail is transported by rail throughout the night. The film was in black and white and the soundtrack featured the train and a voice-over of Auden's poetry. The reading was perfectly in-time with the movements of the train. (For similar see TS Eliot's Skimnleshanks from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats). I suggest you try to read the poem aloud to yourself at a pace relating to a steam train puffing along - then you will have something of the flavour of the original. In a sense, therefore, one might say that this was an early performance poem.

Ironically, as is pointed out on that link, The Royal Mail (who took over from the GPO years ago) has just announced the ending of its Night Mail trains - which cut such a brilliant red dash through the night-time. The end of an era and an especially useful time to remember Auden's poem.

The Night Mail by WH Auden (Click to Link)

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