Crooked Neighbor, Crooked Heart

March 29, 2011by

If you have heard or read much from Cornel West, you’ve probably encountered his terse encapsulation of the dark side of the human condition: “We’re all cracked vessels, trying to love our crooked neighbors with our crooked hearts.” For as many times as I’ve heard it, I did not know the source of the phrase until I discovered today on Quote Vadis this fragment from W.H. Auden’s poem As I walked Out One Evening:

O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.

This is one of many blessings of poetic insight to be discovered in Auden’s writings. If you’re interested in what a poet sees and has to say about things like society and politics, human relationships, religion, morality, or nature, you will find in Auden a deep well. You can start here.