Auden must be a popular poet with bloggers, since it does seem that the internet is buzzing with Auden this week. Just a few I noticed: 3quarksdaily tips their hat. Patrick Nielsen Hayden put up a centennial notice, leading to a wonderful thread of people posting their favorite Auden poems/stanzas/lines. I put up "A Walk After Dark", saying that it had the lowest attention-by-Auden-lovers to quality ratio of any of my favorite Auden poems. Then I found that Hugo Schwyzer posted it today as his Auden centennial memorial. So maybe I'm wrong about that, I don't know.
But I suppose the best words to mark the occasion might be these stanzas from another of Auden's best poems, "In Memory of W. B. Yeats":
Time, that is intolerant... except that if you click through the link to the poem above, you won't find those verses anywhere in it. Why? Because Poets.org quotes Auden's later version of the poem -- the version that cut those wonderful stanzas out. (Here's a version with them still in, although they add an awkward note pointing their later exclusion in the text of the poem (what's up with that!?), and here's another -- although that one mashes two of the stanzas awkwardly together.) Ah well, as the Guardian noted today, "He was silly like us... Few writers mutilated their own work more often."
of the brave and innocent,
And indifferent in a week,
To a beautiful physique,
Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.
Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.
Apart from those two, here are some other of my favorite Auden poems (yeah, most of them are on most people's greatest hits list. I'm listing ones I like, not trying to be original).