I sit in one of the dives/ On Fifty-second Street/ Uncertain and afraid/ As the clever hopes expire/ Of a low dishonest decade:/ Waves of anger and fear/ Circulate over the bright/ And darkened lands of the earth,/ Obsessing our private lives —W.H. Auden

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

—Selections from W.H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939”