Audrey Wurdemann (January 1, 1911 – May 20, 1960) was an American poet. She was the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry at the age of 24, for her collection Bright Ambush.
Her first collection of poetry, ‘The House of Silk’ was published when she was 16, sponsored by California poet George Sterling. She was a 1931 honors graduate of the University of Washington. After college she traveled through Asia.
She married poet and novelist Joseph Auslander in 1932 and moved to New York City, where he taught at Columbia. They moved to Washington, DC when Auslander was appointed the first Poet Laureate Consultant in poetry of the Library of Congress.
Under the shards of shattered stone
The bells are mute, nor has anyone
For centuries shaken, petal by petal,
The songs that ring through stricken metal;
Nor anyone stirred the blood poured in
When the molten bronze ran ruddy thin;
And none has called to the living voice,
And heard it, answering rejoice.
This is the fate of a buried bell
With all the tales of the khans to tell.
There shall be only ghosts to listen
Deep in the dust where nothing can glisten,
And a pebble is bright as a diamond or two
Lost from a Mongol emperor’s shoe.
There shall be only a silence deeper
Than any quiet about a sleeper,
And the quick-eyed mice with fur like rust
Shall leave their prints in gathering dust.
With unbowed head I pray: do not awaken,
Be marble, inviolate and inscrutable,
Be air, be anything; I am not shaken
By silver melted and grown mutable.
This do I ask: O never let me find
A way to tempt you into flesh; be near,
But only in the closet of my mind.
Be obdurate, and very wise, my dear,
Lest I should beg life in the perfect form,
And cower there to feel the stone grow warm.