Autograph Letter Signed W. H. Auden to Stella Musulin with Typescript W. H. Auden "Stark Bewölkt" 1971-10-19
PIDhttps://hdl.handle.net/21.11115/0000-000E-C317-C
AuthorAuden, W. H.
Editor(s)
  • Mayer, Sandra
  • Frühwirth, Timo
PublisherAustrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Vienna 2021
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Cite this Source (MLA 9th Edition)Andorfer Peter, Mayer Sandra, Frühwirth Timo, Mendelson Edward, Neundlinger Helmut and Stoxreiter Daniel. Auden Musulin Papers: A Digital Edition of W. H. Auden's Letters to Stella Musulin. Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2022, amp.acdh.oeaw.ac.at .


0001 Air_Mail


0002 Poem dedicated to S_M_


0003 Die Baronin
0004 Stella Musulin
0005 Wien 1030
0006 Neulinggasse 26/14
0007 Austria


0008 Oct 19 th .


0009 ℅ Spender
0010 15 Loudoun Rd
0011 London. N.W.8


0012 Dear Stella;
0013 Were very disappointed that we didn't
0014 see you again before we left. You seem
0015 to have stayed in England much longer than
0016 usual.
0017 This morning a copy of Austria arrived
0018 from Faber's. : The illustrations, which I hadn't
0019 seen before seem excellent
0020 Overleaf a poem I want to dedicate to
0021 you. Firstly , because of its subject and,
0022 secondly, because it is written in an imitatin
0023 of a medieval Welsh metre called a Cywydd,
0024 Return to New York on NOv 1st.
0025 love
0026 Wystan


0027 STARK BEWÖLKT
0028 (for Stella Musulin)
(vl) 0001I'm no photophil who burns
(vl) 0002his body brown on beaches:
(vl) 0003foolish I find this fashion
(vl) 0004of modern surf-riding man.
(vl) 0005Let plants by all means sun-bathe,
(vl) 0006it helps them to make their meals,
(vl) 0007exposure,though,to ultra-
(vl) 0008-violet vapids the brain,
(vl) 0009bids us be stodge and stupid.
(vl) 0010Still,safe in some sheltered shade,
(vl) 0011or watching through a window,
(vl) 0012an ageing male,I demand
(vl) 0013to see a shining summer,
(vl) 0014a sky bright and wholly blue,
(vl) 0015save for a drifting cloudlet
(vl) 0016like a dollop of whipped cream.
(vl) 0017This year all is unthuswise:
(vl) 0018O why so glum,weather-god?

(vl) 0019Day after day we waken
(vl) 0020to be scolded by a scowl,
(vl) 0021venomous and vindictive,
(vl) 0022a flat frowning Friday face,
(vl) 0023horrid as a hang-over
(vl) 0024and mean as well: if you must
(vl) 0025so disarray the heavens,
(vl) 0026at least you might let them rain.
(vl) 0027(Water is always welcome
(vl) 0028for trees to take neat and men
(vl) 0029to make brandy or beer with.)
(vl) 0030But,no,we don't get a drop:
(vl) 0031dry you remain and doleful
(vl) 0032in a perpetual pique.

(vl) 0033Fowls mope,flowers are wretched,
(vl) 0034the raspberry-canes are forced
(vl) 0035into phyllomania:
(vl) 0036to ignore you,not be cross,
(vl) 0037one would have to be either
(vl) 0038drunk,lit on amphetamines,
(vl) 0039or a feverish lover.
(vl) 0040Being dead sober all day,
(vl) 0041I find your bearing boorish,
(vl) 0042by four in the afternoon
(vl) 0043frequently close the curtains
(vl) 0044to shut your shabbiness out.

(vl) 0045Who or what are you mad at?
(vl) 0046What has poor Austria done
(vl) 0047to draw such disapproval?
(vl) 0048The Beamterei,it's true,
(vl) 0049is as awful as ever,
(vl) 0050the drivers are dangerous,
(vl) 0051standards at the Staatsoper
(vl) 0052steadily decline each year,
(vl) 0053and Wien's become provincial
(vl) 0054compared to the pride she was.
(vl) 0055Still,it's a cosy country,
(vl) 0056unracked by riots or strikes
(vl) 0057and backward at drug-taking:
(vl) 0058I've heard of a dozen lands
(vl) 0059where life sounds far more ugsome,
(vl) 0060fitter goals for your disgust.
(vl) 0061(I needn't name them,for you,whose
(vl) 0062glance circumspects the whole globe,
(vl) 0063ken at first hand what's cooking.)

(vl) 0064Have done! What good does it do,
(vl) 0065dumb god,just to deject us?
(vl) 0066Foul our function may be,but
(vl) 0067foul weather won't reform it.
(vl) 0068If you merely wish our world
(vl) 0069to mend its ways,remember:
(vl) 0070when happy,men on the whole
(vl) 0071behave a wee bit better,
(vl) 0072when unhappy,always worse.
___