W H Auden reads his poem about the death of W B Yeats (anniversary today) – not only the passing of the man, but the way poetry lives on in the world after the death of its writer.
Interesting to bear in mind that we are listening to the spoken words of a poet who has been dead for over 40 years (died September 1973). Powerful to hear them read by the writer.
This poem is in fact one of 3 parts. In the 2nd, he memorably sums up W B Yeats as “Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry” and in the 3rd it winds up the set by a simple four line verse:
“In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.”
The full poem is found in Auden’s writings 1939-1947.