In 1930 W.H. Auden wrote his own version of an Old English poem called ‘The Wanderer’. It begins with this sentence:
“Doom is dark and deeper than any sea-dingle.”
Now, as far as ‘doom’ goes, Auden was referring to judgment or critical thought. The poem is believed to concern a lone wandering soldier or sailor, so it’s most likely about reflective thought at that.
It’s an odd image too. Sounds a bit funny in the American. A ‘dingle’ is a dell, a valley, a dip between two hills — and if we’re meant to be at sea then it’s probably that spot between the crests of two waves where you’ve just felt a brief reprieve of not being tossed about by the whim of some cantankerous and increasingly arbitrary Norse god.
Thought can be dark and deeper than anything the world throws at us. Rarely is it reflective of much other than our own fears. The sizes of the swells are that of our own folklore.
I’d like to think Auden was just telling everybody to calm down.