~ Filmmaker: Liang-Hsin Huang ~

The More Loving One by W. H. Auden

Auden’s poem animated by Taiwanese filmmaker Liang-Hsin Huang for The Universe in Verse, “A project by Maria Popova in partnership with On Being“. Here’s Popova’s post introducing the new video. A snippet:

In what may be the single most poignant one-word alteration in the history of our species, [Auden] changed the final line of the penultimate stanza to reflect his war-annealed recognition that entropy dominates all. The original version read: “We must love one another or die” — an impassioned plea for compassion as a moral imperative, the withholding of which assures the destruction of life. But the plea had gone unanswered and eighty million lives had gone unsaved. Auden came to feel that his reach for poetic truth had been rendered “a damned lie,” later lamenting that however our ideals and idealisms may play out, “we must die anyway.”

A decade of disquiet after the end of the war, he changed the line to read: “We must love one another and die.”

The reading is by Janna Levin, and Garth Stevenson composed the music.