This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Nuts and Bolts aubade.

An aubade is an odd thing. It only exists at dawn, for one thing, and then only if you're standing at a window or in a doorway.

Sometimes, but not always, it has words (an aubade is usually a sort of poem, but it can be an instrumental piece, too).

In any case, even when an aubade does have words, the only people who are supposed to hear it are either fast asleep (and a woman) or about 93,000,000 miles away (and, as you may have guessed, the sun).

Despite the fact that aubades are really quite silly, they've been around for ages. Chaucer wrote one in Troilus and Criseyde. By Shakespeare's time, though, misery and hopelessness in poetry was so fashionable that an aubade was no longer a dead cert for stardom and celebrity (though Shakespeare, who doesn't seem to have cared in the slightest about stardom or celebrity, did write a poem beginning Hark! Hark! the lark).

Aubades didn't die out completely, anyway: they were still well-known enough in John Donne's time for him to have a bit of fun with them in his poem "The Sun Rising".

Nowadays, sadly, we hardly ever stop to admire the dawn, and so there aren't too many aubades about. Philip Larkin wrote a famous one, but unfortunately in his poem The sky is white as clay, with no sun.

And he seems to be quite alone in his room.

It's not the same, you know.

Poem To Write Today: an aubade. It's probably a bit late for you to make up an aubade for today's dawn, but you could perhaps aim to greet tomorrow's dawn with something more than usually delicately lovely when your alarm clock rings.

The word aubade is French, from the Old Provençal auba, which means dawn, from the Latin albus, white.


  1. Now there's a challenge! I don't often see the dawn but I will try and write a poem one of these days which I could legitimately calle An Aubade!

  2. So Larkin's 'white as clay' would seem appropriate after all. I like this site!

  3. I'm really thrilled, anon.

    PS I love your poetry.