Two Poems

Peter Porter

About Auden’s Juvenilia

He knew he would be great
  And told his tutor so
But lots of second-rate
  Ramshackle lines ‘to go’
Like pizzas on a plate
  He ordered up: we know
His Hardy phase, his Yeats.

But as we sort out from
  The country metaphors
(That almanac birdsong,
  Those Edward Thomas spores)
The few bits which belong
  To his mature scores,
We smell death on the Somme.

He didn’t write of war
  But just like Isherwood
Saw straight sex as the flaw
  Which cost a decade’s blood –
His poems should restore
  A world before the flood,
The cooked renew the raw.

Watch This Space

In galaxy M87
matter is disappearing endlessly
at unimaginable velocity
producing a density which
on earth would shrink the planet
to the size of one small marble.

All the mind can do
to speculate on this
is guess that far beyond
but still within itself
a matching universe is set
to disappear by rote.

Since space is unconfined
a lesser Science rules
whatever’s mensural,
and gods come out like stars,
unknown but understood,
to mask infinity.