Combat at Midnight

By Hermann Hagedorn
THIS book is an expansion in a hundred pages of Auden’s sonnet to the Deity beginning ‘Sir, no man’s enemy, forgiving all . . .’ Like Auden, Hagedorn pleads for ‘a change of heart.’ His foundation is the Christian ethic, and in three narrative poems somewhat in the manner of Frost but with urban settings, and in some shorter lyrics, he presents the themes of repentance, expiation, and love. The poems are poor as poetic art, but moving and rousing in their human appeal. They say things which cannot be repeated too often at the moment, and may appeal to many readers who find the approach of Auden or Eliot to similar themes too oblique and obscure.