W. H. Auden
(born) 1907

Too Dear, Too Vague

Love by ambition
Of definition
Suffers partition
And cannot go
From yes to no,
For no is not love; no is no,
The shutting of a door,
The tightening jaw,
A wilful sorrow;
And saying yes
Turns love into success,
Views from a rail
Of land and happiness;
Assured of all,
The sofas creak,
And were this all, love were
But cheeks to cheek
And dear to dear.

Voices explain
Love's pleasure and love's pain,
Still tap the knee
And cannot disagree,
Hushed for aggression
Of full confession,
Likeness to likeness
Of each old weakness;
Love is not there,
Love has moved to another chair,
Aware already
Of what stands next,
And is not vexed,
And is not giddy,
Leaves the North in place
With a good grace,
And would not gather
Another to another,
Designs his own unhappiness
Foretells his own death and is faithless.