Deftly, Admiral, Cast Your Fly

Deftly, Admiral, Cast Your Fly

Poem by W. H. Auden

Deftly, admiral, cast your fly
Into the slow deep hover,
Till the wise old trout mistake and die;
Salt are the deeps that cover
The glittering fleets you led,
White is your head.

Read on, ambassador, engrossed
In your favourite Stendhal;
The Outer Provinces are lost,
Unshaven horsemen swill

The great wines of the Chateaux
Where you danced long ago.

Do not turn, do not lift your eyes
Toward the still pair standing
On the bridge between your properties,
Indifferent to your minding:
In its glory, in its power,
This is their hour.

Nothing your strength, your skill, could do
Can alter their embrace
Or dispersuade the Furies who
At the appointed place
With claw and dreadful brow
Wait for them now.