Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember
Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden wrote “September 1, 1939” at the outbreak of World War II in Europe. It’s a poem that’s often quoted during times of crises such as ours, and only seems to highlight the recurring cycles of political dissimulation and media exacerbated fury that escalates into tragedy. While battling a virus, we’ve “cancelled” each other and branded each other racists and bigots. We’ve listened to politicians and oligopolies wildlydenounce opponents of their agendas as terrorists. We’ve been witness to unchecked brutality this past year as our cities burned with mob violence during which thirty people were murdered, and neighborhoods and livelihoods went up in smokewhile governors and mayors watched.
Auden began the poem with these words:
I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night.
In the penultimate stanza he cautions: “We must love one another or die.” The same holds true today.
Read the complete poem at poets.org. And hear the poet Dylan Thomas read it below.
Lena rummaged through her backpack behind him. “Do we have to do this?”
Eli snorted impatiently at his best friend. “Don’t you want to know why kids from this school have gone missing? Mr. Drobkoni’s gotta be a vampire. I’ll stay here. You keep a lookout. Whistle when you see him coming.”
“Right-oh,” Lena said. “Here.”
Eli held the mirror so he could see over his shoulder.
Lena had already left.
She’s fast, he thought.
“What’s that?” asked Lena behind him.
He turned around quickly. “The dead travel fast,” he said, suddenly pale.
“Am I loved?” she asked wonderingly, throwing back hair, sultry under silken shawl scrutinizing her groomed shimmering form. He walked glancingly past a mirror then stopped to take a more admiring look. “Darling?” Reluctantly she turned from her reflection against the dark sky; he tore himself from his dashing figure. “How asinine, dear heart,” he ejaculated. “To love oneself is most divine!” Embracing by mirror and window they stood, idols with eyes of glass.
Jude's The Saturday Symphony #14: "Romance"
Sammi'sWeekend Writing Prompt: use "Asinine" in prose or poem with exactly 74 wordsCyranny's Word of the Day Challenge: "sultry"
“You can’t be serious, Maude!” “And just why can’t I, Fred? Twenty baby showers I’ve been to this August and I’m fed up!” “But it’s your own niece’s, Maude!” “Fred, we’ve spent a fortune on her already! Graduation from art school, and did you see the garbage that passed for modern art?! Then her birthday, bridal shower, now . . . .” “Okay, okay! But a baby chair somebody threw out with the garbage, that’s going too far!” (pause) “Is it garbage though? Or an art exhibit? Fred! Take a picture! Let’s take it all! Just the way it is!”
word count: 100
written for Rochelle's Friday Fictioneers
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tales of a hundred words or less.
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