Funeral Blues: WH Auden

This week we studied Auden and the rise of modernism in poetry. The readership at the time was frustrated and felt poetry was far too abstract; they couldn’t relate it back to their own lives, Auden went some way towards incorporating the socio-economic and political atmosphere of the time in to his work. I felt a few people in the class were quite negative towards this poem, feeling it was too simple or ‘childlike’. The very beauty of this poem is the simplicity and the way he manages to ‘trick’ the reader, for he was not in mourning at all- he simply wanted to re-purpose the poem for wider release. I find it hugely poignant in its simplicity, particularly the last two stanzas- it captures beautifully the loss of innocence brought about by the death of a loved one. 

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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 wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Ezra Pound: The Garden

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One of my favourites from my first poetry class:

The Garden

Like a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
of a sort of emotional anemia.

And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.

In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.
She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
will commit that indiscretion.