D’s Poetry : Haiku 55 : W H Auden

D’s Poetry is a living archive of all poetry penned by me, Divvya Nirula. Join me on this journey today as we discuss the life and work of W H Auden.

His jump to evolve,
Closer to us than our own,
Planet of the Apes.

Divvya Nirula

The popularity and love of Haiku, though it developed in Japan, eventually spread all over the world. From Japanese poets writing or translating their Haiku to English, to international poets writing Haiku in their own native languages.

Wystan Hugh Auden is one such poet – who adapted the Japanese verse to express himself in English. Auden was born in York, England in 1907. His parents were both employed in the medical profession. Despite this, Auden was able to identify his literary and poetic interests at a young age. Though he also loved science, and wanted to be a mining engineer. Before attending Oxford University, Auden had already published one of his poems in Public School Verse.

At Christ Church, Oxford, Auden studied English. Upon graduating, he began teaching and then travelling. He went to Iceland, China, and eventually to America, where he settled and became a citizen. Auden wrote and published poetry about his travels, drawing inspiration from his own life. IN 1947, he won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Age of Anxiety.

Towards the end of his career, Auden adopted new styles of poetry. These included Haiku and Tanka. Not only did he translate other people’s works, but also wrote his own original short verse poetry. Despite often falling short in comparison to TS Eliod and WB Yeats, Auden is considered and important and influential poet in his own right.

The underground roads
Are, as the dead prefer them,
Always tortuous.

W H Auden

When he looked the cave in the eye,
Hercules
Had a moment of doubt.

W H Auden

Leaning out over
The dreadful precipice,
One contemptuous tree.

W H Auden

You are invited along on this journey of discovery and writing. For more poetry and verse by Divvya Nirula, please visit the archive for D’s Poetry.