Monday, December 22, 2008

Aimless Reading: The A's, Part 26.1

Auden, W.H.
Selected Poems


A few years ago, I wanted to go back and read Auden to see if there was something there for me. When I did, I discovered that my copy from way back when was a mess of someone else's underlinings, so I sold it to the used book store and bought this new, expanded version. I didn't find what I was looking for. I admire his metrical abilities, but I find the majority of the poems difficult to enter into. However, when I can enter in, they are spot on. This famous one, for instance, seems all too apt for today:

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

2 comments:

Nada said...

Yes, too apt. Sad, and lovely, too.

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Yeah, heartbreaking.