From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life
 

(Peter Yarrow)

So I told him that he’d better shut his mouth
And do his job like a man.
And he answered “Listen, Father,
I will never kill another.”
He thinks he’s better
than his brother that died
What the hell does he think he’s doing
To his father who brought him up right?

[Chorus:]

Take your place on The Great Mandala
As it moves through your brief moment of time.
Win or lose now you must choose now
And if you lose you’re only losing your life.

Tell the jailer not to bother
With his meal of bread and water today.
He is fasting ’til the killing’s over
He’s a martyr, he thinks he’s a prophet.
But he’s a coward, he’s just playing a game
He can’t do it, he can’t change it
It’s been going on for ten thousand years

[Chorus:]

Tell the people they are safe now
Hunger stopped him, he lies still in his cell.
Death has gagged his accusations

What’s that rumbling in the courtyard
Seven thousand faces are turned to the gate
What’s that they’re saying?  Kill the traitor
Kill the traitor, kill the traitor, kill the traitor!

We are free now, we can kill now,
We can hate now, now we can end the world
We’re not guilty, he was crazy
And it’s been going on for ten thousand years!

Take your place on The Great Mandala
As it moves through your brief moment of time.
Win or lose now you must choose now
And if you lose you’ve only wasted your life.

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
…I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

…Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
…For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
‘I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,’
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

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.

May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden

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