Off topic: The Unknown Citizen - W.H.Auden
Thread poster: Aurora Humarán
Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 14, 2002

Most poems develop slowly: they begin at a certain place and proceed logically to another place. However, in Auden´s poem we are in the same place, from beginning to end. Auden has probably written it in this way to emphasize/transmit an important feature of Modern Man: his/her(?) predictability and dullness. We are all expected to comply with certain standards: have a certain amount of kids, follow a certain amount of steps, do a certain amount of things during the course of our lives...

No matter how original we want to be, in the end, we are Modern Men, numbers, statistics, very much concerned with “doing the right thing”. Does this lead us to happiness? We don´t know, may be we don´t care. Still if we do care, there is nothing we can do to change the way life seems to be.



Auden presents a poetic definition (isn´t the whole poem a definition?) of a person caught up in the tight fabric of his/her age.



Using Auden´s adjectives from the poem: are we “normal”? “proper”? “right”... enough?

Are we free? Are we happy?



Can we conclude that there is no meaning in men´s existence?



Are we nothing but numbers/statistics?





Aurora Humarán

sex: female (xy)

birth: 11/25/60

ID: 14316030

Kids: 1 (the right number for my generation).

Tax contributor Nbr: 2714316030

Even for ProZ I´m a number!!!!! Translator Nbr. 16610 (KudoZ 786 BrowniZ 8128 )





Have a nice day, in spite of this nihilistic(?) beginning...



Au







The Unknown Citizen W. H. Auden



(To JS/07 M 378

This Marble Monument

Is Erected by the State)





He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be

One against whom there was no official complaint,

And all the reports on his conduct agree

That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a

saint,

For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.

Except for the War till the day he retired

He worked in a factory and never got fired,

But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.

Yet he wasn\'t a scab or odd in his views,

For his Union reports that he paid his dues,

(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)

And our Social Psychology workers found

That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.

The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day

And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.

Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,

And his Health-card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.

Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare

He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan

And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,

A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.

Our researchers into Public Opinion are content

That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;

When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.

He was married and added five children to the population,

Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his

generation.

And our teachers report that he never interfered with their

education.

Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:

Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.






From Another Time by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden,







By the way...W.H.Auden´s complete name was: Wystan Hugh Auden. Auden was born in York, England in 1907 and died in 1973.









[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-10-14 01:33 ]


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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 10:03
English
+ ...
Received thru a dear Turkish friend Oct 14, 2002

I\'ve learned....

That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.



I\'ve learned....

That when you\'re in love, it shows.



I\'ve learned....

That just one person saying to me,

\"You\'ve made my day!\" makes my day.



I\'ve learned....

That having a child fall asleep in your arms

is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.



I\'ve learned....

That being kind is more important than being right.



I\'ve learned....

That you should never say \"no\" to a gift from a child.



I\'ve learned....

That I can always pray for someone

when I don\'t have the strength to help him in some other way.



I\'ve learned....

That no matter how serious your life requires you to be,

everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.



I\'ve learned....

That sometimes all a person needs

is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.



I\'ve learned....

That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.



I\'ve learned....

That life is like a roll of toilet paper.

The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.



I\'ve learned....

That we should be glad God doesn\'t give us everything we ask for.



I\'ve learned....

That money doesn\'t buy class.



I\'ve learned....

That it\'s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.



I\'ve learned...

That under everyone\'s hard shell

is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.



I\'ve learned....

That the Lord didn\'t do it all in one day.

What makes me think I can?



I\'ve learned....

That to ignore the facts

does not change the facts.



I\'ve learned....

That when you plan to get even with someone,

you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.



I\'ve learned....

That love, not time, heals all wounds.



I\'ve learned....

That the easiest way for me to grow as a person

is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.



I\'ve learned....

That everyone you meet

deserves to be greeted with a smile.



I\'ve learned....

That there\'s nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.



I\'ve learned....

That no one is perfect

until you fall in love with them.



I\'ve learned....

That life is tough, but I\'m tougher.



I\'ve learned....

That opportunities are never lost;

someone will take the ones you miss.



I\'ve learned....

That when you harbor bitterness,

happiness will dock elsewhere.



I\'ve learned....

That I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time

before he passed away.



I\'ve learned....

That one should keep his words both soft and tender,

because tomorrow he may have to eat them.



I\'ve learned....

That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.



I\'ve learned....

That I can\'t choose how I feel,

but I can choose what I do about it.



I\'ve learned....

That when your newly born child

holds your little finger in his little fist,

that you\'re hooked for life.



I\'ve learned....

That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain,

but all the happiness and growth occurs while you\'re climbing it.



I\'ve learned ...

That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances;

when it is requested

and when it is a life threatening situation.



I\'ve learned....

That the less time I have to work with,

the more things I get done.



To all of you... Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence.



It\'s National Friendship Week(Amerikanyalilar için).

Show your friends how much you care.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND, even if it means sending it back to the person who sent it to you. If it comes back to you, then you\'ll know you have a circle

>of friends.


[addsig]


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 04:03
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
Well, I did, didn't I? Oct 14, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-10-14 04:55, Arthur wrote:

...To all of you... Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence.



It\'s National Friendship Week(Amerikanyalilar için).

Show your friends how much you care.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND, even if it means sending it back to the person who sent it to you. If it comes back to you, then you\'ll know you have a circle

of friends.







I\'ve learned....

That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.



I\'ve learned....

That when you\'re in love, it shows.



I\'ve learned....

That just one person saying to me,

\"You\'ve made my day!\" makes my day.



I\'ve learned....

That having a child fall asleep in your arms

is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.



I\'ve learned....

That being kind is more important than being right.



I\'ve learned....

That you should never say \"no\" to a gift from a child.



I\'ve learned....

That I can always pray for someone

when I don\'t have the strength to help him in some other way.



I\'ve learned....

That no matter how serious your life requires you to be,

everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.



I\'ve learned....

That sometimes all a person needs

is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.



I\'ve learned....

That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.



I\'ve learned....

That life is like a roll of toilet paper.

The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.



I\'ve learned....

That we should be glad God doesn\'t give us everything we ask for.



I\'ve learned....

That money doesn\'t buy class.



I\'ve learned....

That it\'s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.



I\'ve learned...

That under everyone\'s hard shell

is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.



I\'ve learned....

That the Lord didn\'t do it all in one day.

What makes me think I can?



I\'ve learned....

That to ignore the facts

does not change the facts.



I\'ve learned....

That when you plan to get even with someone,

you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.



I\'ve learned....

That love, not time, heals all wounds.



I\'ve learned....

That the easiest way for me to grow as a person

is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.



I\'ve learned....

That everyone you meet

deserves to be greeted with a smile.



I\'ve learned....

That there\'s nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.



I\'ve learned....

That no one is perfect

until you fall in love with them.



I\'ve learned....

That life is tough, but I\'m tougher.



I\'ve learned....

That opportunities are never lost;

someone will take the ones you miss.



I\'ve learned....

That when you harbor bitterness,

happiness will dock elsewhere.



I\'ve learned....

That I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time

before he passed away.



I\'ve learned....

That one should keep his words both soft and tender,

because tomorrow he may have to eat them.



I\'ve learned....

That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.



I\'ve learned....

That I can\'t choose how I feel,

but I can choose what I do about it.



I\'ve learned....

That when your newly born child

holds your little finger in his little fist,

that you\'re hooked for life.



I\'ve learned....

That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain,

but all the happiness and growth occurs while you\'re climbing it.



I\'ve learned ...

That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances;

when it is requested

and when it is a life threatening situation.



I\'ve learned....

That the less time I have to work with,

the more things I get done.



To all of you... Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence.



It\'s National Friendship Week(Amerikanyalilar için).

Show your friends how much you care.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND, even if it means sending it back to the person who sent it to you. If it comes back to you, then you\'ll know you have a circle

of friends.




[addsig]

Direct link Reply with quote
 


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The Unknown Citizen - W.H.Auden

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