“We must love one another or die.” W.H. Auden wrote this line but said it was a damned lie.


2. W.H. Auden
The Poem That Wouldn’t Die

W.H. Auden’s best-known poem, “September 1, 1939,” was written the day that Germany invaded Poland, launching World War II. From the moment it was published in The New Republic that year, the work was instantly popular—but Auden wanted to revise it. He thought parts of the poem rang false. He especially hated its most famous line: “We must love one another or die.” Auden later reflected, “That’s a damned lie! We must die anyway.” So in the next version of his poem, Auden altered the text to read, “We must love one another and die.”

Read more:

“5 Geniuses Who Renounced Their Work,” Mental Floss

W.H. Auden – September 1, 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Read rest of poem 

(Poetry Diary 261 – 6/13/17) My husband is going through piles & piles of his old magazines, trying to read them all before throwing them out. He found this in one from Nov/Dec 2010. 

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