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September 1 1939

3 Pages 670 Words

My personal response that I acquired from W.H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939” is that of hope and how it arises in times of despair. This poem is appreciated to more recent historical events, like that of September 11, even though it was written more then sixty decades ago.

Auden’s poem is very insightful and it exhibits hope to its readers. In lines forty six to forty eight, “The lights must never go out/ the music must always play” conspires that everything still, must go on after a tragic event, and that hope is the only thing that keeps us going. Hope gives us the strength to carry on. We experienced this on September 11th, only two years ago. People were told to have faith and hope, and go about their lives as if everything were normal again. People were told to show pride and unity, and positive attitudes as Auden is encouraging the music to keep playing and for the lights to stay bright. The last five lines in this poem produced the largest effect on me. In lines ninety-four to ninety-eight, Auden writes “May I, composed like them/ of Eros and of dust, / Beleaguered by the same/ Negation and despair, / show an affirming flame.” Those five lines exhibit the need for hope in despaired persons, who have been wronged. Auden is daring to be the “affirming flame”, in other words, to be the positive hope.

This poem was widely circulated on the internet after September 11, 2001 mainly because it discusses hope and the important of love in hard times. This poem helped so many people coupe with their pain. People may have related this poem to the tragic events of September 11 because of lines four to eleven, “As the clever hopes expire/ of a low dishonest decade: / waves of anger and fear / circulate over the bright / and darkened lands of the earth, / obsessing our private lives; / The unmentionable odour of death / Offends the September night.” These lines brought about a sense of uncertainty,...

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