“the more loving one”

“Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.”

W.H. Auden

I don’t think this poem has anything resembling an answer– but I’ve been thinking about lopsided love recently. Which, seems, just so common. It feels very rare in relationships for the admiration and love to be balanced, which can feel unfortunate, but I don’t think it actually is.

Auden captures that with this poem, and proposes that, “If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.” Vulnerable… but then he finishes by saying that whatever is in front of him he could learn to love. Perhaps meaning that it doesn’t matter what/who he is loving as long as he is in it– he is content.