DEAR PHILIP. “Thank God for boozy godfathers”
you wrote in our guest-book, which was flattering:
though I’ve reached the years when discretion
calls for a yearly medical check-up,
who am I to avouch for a Christian
baby, far less offer ghostly platitudes
to a young man? In yester times it
was different: the old could be helpful
when they could nicely envisage the future
as a nameable settled landscape their children
would make the same sense of as they did,
laughing and weeping at the same stories.
This poem from 1969 was dedicated to Philip Spender, nephew of the poet Stephen Spender, a close friend of Auden’s.
Read more from Auden as we celebrate National Poetry Month