Letter to Scattered Brotherhood: #47 ~ Iron Times for the Nations

July 21, 2018

LSB p 47

These are Iron Times for the nations. Be all the more disciplined in your emotions, for you will hear cries of fear and the crowds will try to force you into their quaking cul-de-sacs.

No, be ready for their poison and their unpreparedness. It is the time to hammer out the metal of your shining armor. Remember you are of the rank of the shock troops; be without fear, dismay or self-indulgence.

Watch, then, all appetites and ponder them carefully. This is important; nothing is too small, too subtle, too tiny. When big events are cutting the air like scimitars it is well not to have indulgence; see and watch with vigilance the little enemies.

Again as an old soldier, I say attack without effort the idea of happiness. Insist on it, demand it, fill your body with happiness like a good strong wine, for from the beauty of a lifted heart come the joyful issues of life.

Now is the time to stand up and tambour your spirit with drumsticks of joy. So you will drum yourself free, that you may not go down before unbelief. Unbeliefs are of your own making; that is hard to grasp, but the time will come when we can look back together and laugh. The way to freedom is to have freedom in the thoughts in your head and, at this hour when all about are so material inclined, it is good to be aware.

As for this idea of happiness, do not misunderstand me; it is the joy of courage which brings the faith to win.

Let in the rays and the beams into every situation, for such is the kingdom of light. March bravely with the brave, demand this Joy, this morale, for with immortality on your banners, and happiness in your trumpets, you will march together into such a brightness, it is as if the sun came down to join you on your road.

In the desert with the heart, Let the healing fountain star

Collection of Poems by WH. Auden, 1907–1973