In my writing group the other night, we had 15 minutes to write something beginning with this line from Auden: “About suffering they were never wrong.” Here’s what I came up with.
About suffering they were never wrong.
They had scoped our pains with surveyor’s eye
And spanned a compass o’er travails long
That ran from dawn to lights that die.
All humanity’s woes and cares
Were catalogued as sundry snares.
There’s grief, there’s woe, there’s dark despair,
And lust and loss without compare.
And when the survey was mapped out neat
They took the chart and tacked it high
And aiming darts did then compete
To see which pains on souls should lie.
Thus the Fates do now compete
Leaving shears aside as dated,
So when you suffer, sore, complete,
Know your pain was struck, ill-fated.
(I can’t type this without wanted to revise it (e.g., do now contend), but that’s beyond the scope of a 15-minute exercise.)