Tell Me the Truth About Love – W. H. Auden

“Will it alter my life altogether?
   O tell me the truth about love.”

This short collection of poems explores how we experience love througout our lives, from wondering what love is and what impact it will have as a small child, through first loves, life-long partnerships and to death.

We choose this as a book group read as we are trying to read a variety of genres, and it sparked an interesting discussion on what makes poetry (rhythm and/or rhyme?) and what the “truth about love” is.

Personally I love Auden’s style of poetry, with a gentle rhythm and rhyme which makes it very lyrical in style. Some of these poems have a fairly depressing message, but they are looking for a truth, and there is a definite feel of the start of WW2 in the later poems. One stanza also gave a feel of the feeling towards bankers in the aftermath of the great depression:

“But the poor fat old banker in the sun-parlour car
Has no one to love him except his cigar.”

I also listened to many of these poems on you tube, getting a feel for the rhythm and feeling that others put into reading the poem, and letting me experience the poem differently.


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