Sept. 1, 1939 marks the beginning of World War II in Europe. That was 80 years ago today.

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:

 September 1, 1939 on History Matters


The right poem for the wrong time: WH Auden’s September 1, 1939

There are many acclaimed poems that address themselves to the question of love. There are many that address themselves to the problems of war. There are others, both ancient and modern, that seem to speak directly to our contemporary condition, and to various crises, fears and threats of annihilation.