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Culture Vulture Schmulture – J

In a feature shamelessly “inspired” by The Times‘s Culture Vulture, British Expat brings you the above titled (subtitled “Things you should own, if they’re the sort of thing you might like…”)

“J” is for “Johnny”.

O the valley in the summer where I and my John
Beside the deep river would walk on and on
While the flowers at our feet and the birds up above
Argued so sweetly on reciprocal love,
And I leaned on his shoulder; “O Johnny, let’s play”:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O that Friday near Christmas as I well recall
When we went to the Charity Matinee Ball,
The floor was so smooth and the band was so loud
And Johnny so handsome I felt so proud;
“Squeeze me tighter, dear Johnny, let’s dance till it’s day”:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

Shall I ever forget at the Grand Opera
When music poured out of each wonderful star?
Diamonds and pearls they hung dazzling down
Over each silver or golden silk gown;
“O John I’m in heaven,” I whispered to say:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O but he was as fair as a garden in flower,
As slender and tall as the great Eiffel Tower,
When the waltz throbbed out on the long promenade
O his eyes and his smile they went straight to my heart;
“O marry me, Johnny, I’ll love and obey”:
But he frowned like thunder and he went away.

O last night I dreamed of you, Johnny, my lover,
You’d the sun on one arm and the moon on the other,
The sea it was blue and the grass it was green,
Every star rattled a round tambourine;
Ten thousand miles deep in a pit there I lay:
But you frowned like thunder and you went away.

—W H Auden, April 1937

No I’m not coming out, I just think it’s a beautiful love poem. More than that, it’s an excellent way to try out my brother’s new laptop, with a view to purchasing one myself. Just by the by, my other thoughts for something you might quite like if you think you might quite like it beginning with “J” were Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants and U2 – The Joshua Tree (it’s got “With or Without You” on it, music as foreplay).

You’ll have to accept, because I say you will, my sincere apologies for the length of time it took to post “J” on the site. You won’t believe me, I know I wouldn’t, but I actually had to do some searching (Research? With my reputation?) to get a hold of the poem. I’m feeling a bit ill now, think I’ll go and lie down.

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