As I Walked Out One Evening is a poem by English poet Wystan Hugh Auden. The summary of As I Walked out one Evening is looking at the poem at a glance where the speaker is only speaking about love. He is feeling that love around him through his eyes.
About the Poet
Auden was a playwright, critic, and librettist who has a great influence on 20th-century poetry. W. H. Auden’s first poetry collection was called Poems which was published in 1930 with the assistance of T. S. Eliot. His poetry has the element of social, political, psychological, and moral aspects. In the initial work of Auden, there is evidence of Freud and Marx, whereas, in the later work, the spiritual and religious features get visible.
Summary of As I Walked Out One Evening
In the poem, the speaker is recalling the time when he was on his evening walk and he notices that everyone has come out. All these groups of people were walking on the sidewalks when the grains are ripe in fields and prepared for harvesting.
A bit far, under the railway bridge arch, there is a river flowing. The speaker listens to a young lover who was singing ‘Love Lasts Forever ‘. According to that song, the energetic singer was claiming that he and his lover will continue to be in love with each other till all the impossibilities will occur. Amongst those impossibilities were rivers reaching over the mountains, China and Africa merging, and the salmon will be singing.
The fact is, the love of the singer will remain there by the end of time and as per the prediction of the Book of Revelation, the symbolic seven stars will be flying in sky like geese and all the oceans will dry.
From the song of that singer, the speaker concluded that the time is going to run like a scared rabbit because of their love. As per the singer, his lover is the most beautiful person and their love is the only amazing thing that had ever happened.
Clocks to the Young Couple
The voice of clocks from all over the city poured into the speaker’s ears. They were telling that young lover about ‘nobody has ever won against time so they must not be fooled.
These clocks more explain that in the dark alleys of a nightmare, there is a place where is present stripped. The time is watching these lovers and aware of them of themselves, of the time that running by.
Moreover, this excitement of love does not last long. We all become victims of distress and exasperation in life. In the end, the only winners are time and mortality.
Even in the valleys of fresh flowers where spring has its dance, the clock continues to move and ends up its beauty with snow. Time moves on and every dance ends, every expert diver has to bring that pretty curve back to the water surface.
Clocks to Everyone
These clocks are now speaking to everyone. asking them to wash their hands, look into the sink, and see what they have missed in life. The clock further sings that every simple cupboard and bed around shows the metaphorical version of a desert or frozen glacier. It is giving an impression to the people that everything has an end. Even if a teacup is broken, its cracks are showing a way to another world.
Clock to the World
The clock is now referring to the world that is corrupt and shallow. He has called it the land of death where nothing has meaning and it is full of corruption. The clocks indicate that everything that is disturbing from the core. We have sugarcoated these things and show as if they are so loving. For instance, the story of Jack and the Beanstalk is a murder story, which we have turned into something charming. In the story of Jack and Jill, Jill is involved with many others. The panhandlers are auctioning their looted money and the so-called sweet boy from the folk story,’ lily- the white boy’ is a drunkard.
The clocks are now asking everyone, in general to look in the mirror and face all those unhappiness despite all the disappointments. By facing this, the people will be able to recognize the gift of life in the most of hardest times.
The speaker now listened to the clock saying that it is Ok to cry your heart out with all the real hot tears. So that, you will be able to admire your flawed and erring self.
It is late in the evening now and the clock’s song has come to an end. The speaker has also finished his narration as the lovers are gone. The rivers are also flowing as they always were.