All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
— from W. H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939”
And do you want to know which words make this empiricist come closest to feeling “spiritual?”
W.H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939.” Auden’s work reassures the heart and tempts the intellect. He was the very “affirming flame” he described so capably, as others doubtlessly are who were inspired by the piece.
If God exists, then evidence for Him might best be found in poetry: mankind’s capacity for depth and language’s capacity for beauty.