O Where Are You Going?

“O where are you going?” said reader to rider,
“That valley is fatal when furnaces burn,
Yonder’s the midden whose odours will madden,
That gap is the grave where the tall return.”

“O do you imagine,” said fearer to farer,
“That dusk will delay on your path to the pass,
Your diligent looking discover the lacking
Your footsteps feel from granite to grass?”

“O what was that bird,” said horror to hearer,
“Did you see that shape in the twisted trees?
Behind you swiftly the figure comes softly,
The spot on your skin is a shocking disease.”

“Out of this house,” said rider to reader,
“Yours never will,” said farer to fearer,
“They’re looking for you,” said hearer to horror,
As he left them there, as he left them there.

W. H. Auden

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