Strange, when you consider the width of his poetic range, that my two favourite Auden poems are both elegies...
(Poem #256) 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.
First published as "Song IX" from 'Twelve Songs' (1936); reprinted under the present title in 'Tell me the Truth about Love' (1976). Most famous appearance? In the movie 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' (which fact does not, surprisingly enough, detract from the quality of the poem one bit). thomas. [Minstrels Links] We've run two Auden poems before (Only two? Yup, difficult as it may be to believe... the fact is, most of Auden's work leaves me a bit cold -- feel welcome to rectify the situation by means of guest submissions). First, that beautiful elegy in praise of one of my favourite poets - In Memory of W. B. Yeats, at poem #50 And second, the almost equally good Musee des Beaux Arts, at poem #68 Both sites contain a fair bit of critical analysis, biographical info and the like.