W. H. Auden
Tell Me the Truth About Love
Some say that love's a little boy
And some say it's a bird
Some say it makes the world go round
And some say that's absurd
And when I asked the man next-door
Who looked as if he knew
His wife got very cross indeed
And said it wouldn't do

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides
Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn't even there:
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead
And Brighton's bracing air
I don't know what the blackbird sang
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn't in the chicken-run
Or underneath the bed

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races
Or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love
When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I'm picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love