First published in 1939 and appearing in his collection Another Time (1940), ‘The Unknown Citizen’ by W.H. Auden can still be considered relevant and stark in its satirical treatment of the ‘ideal’ member of modern society – the acceptable, unobtrusively conformist citizen.
The collection also includes, among other notable and well known pieces, ‘Funeral Blues’, ‘Spain 1937’ and this, read by Sheila Hancock for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017. Again, as moving and as relevant as it was nearly 80 years ago.
Despite the heartening reaction from so many quarters, it’s the incessant repetition of times like this that leave me with a bone-tired weariness and despair at the continued spinelessness and stupidity of ‘humanity’. That so many would accept the same fallacies, so often, by so few.
There is beauty in silence; but one should not confuse the silence of listening with the silence of inaction, acquiescence or appeasement. Ultimately, there comes a time when silence is submission. And with that thought I’ll leave you. In peace.