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Hilltop: A Literary Paper. Volume 1 Number 1

Twentieth Century

Twentieth Century

Our youth is not so green as we pretend.
My age is—never mind. You're almost twenty.
Under this low forehead and fuzzy hair
That breaks your combs, what calculation wins ?

"Promise but do not always give."—You know:
For giving's toll is loss; all loss is heavy.
How long is it awake, the little head?
Sad fool, who thinks he steals your heart away.

The autumn flies are not attracted by
The gluey strap suspended from the lamp,
And life's suspensions are not very many.

A child like you and I are free to play
At any place—sure never to be caught;
At any place—and fear boredom elsewhere.

—Translated by E. Schwimmer.

[E. du Perron was a Dutch poet contemporary with Auden, who committed suicide after the German invasion of Holland. He spent his early years, and some later years, in Indonesia.]

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