Auden’s Prospero speaks of Long Ago
when he prepares to leave Ariel,
But it turns out he can’t mean more than twelve years ago.
That’s not long ago.
Once upon a time we were born
But that was yesterday, not long ago.
The Great War in France seems like long ago
but only briefly.
Then you realize we fought there –
On the Marne, wasn’t it?
Thomas Aquinas and Dante – that was pretty long ago
But not long ago.
We had some good arguments there too.
Rome. That was long ago.
That was a long, long time ago.
Because that’s where you left me.