Benjamin Britten

O lift your little pinkie,
and touch the winter sky.
Love's all over the mountains
where the beautiful go to die.

If Time were the wicked sheriff,
in a horse opera,
I'd pay for riding lessons
and take his gun away.
O lift...

If I were a Valentino,
and Fortune were abroad,
I'd hypnotise that iceberg
till she kissed me of her own accord.
O lift...

If I'd stacked up the velvet
and my crooked rib were dead,
I'd be breeding white canaries
and eating crackers in bed.
O lift...

But my cuffs are soiled and fraying.
The kitchen clock is slow,
and over the Blue Waters
the grass grew long ago.
O lift...

text: W.H. Auden

Back to Other notes & translations