A is for Auden

Note: Some of my fellow bloggers started their “A” posts yesterday, which I thought was exempt, as it was Sunday.  They’re onto “B” today, so I guess I will be, again, behind.  Unless I can get two posts out today.

My theme for this A to Z Blogging Challenge will be: authors.  That includes writers, storytellers, novelists, poets, and even songwriters.

A is for Auden.  W.H. Auden, whose first name was Wystan and middle name was Hugh, is not as well-known as, say, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, or the American Robert Frost.  Unless you count “Four Weddings and a Funeral” as one of your favorite movies.  His name sounds suspiciously British, and it is.  He was born in England and later became an American citizen.  Born in 1907, died in 1973.

I remember reading one or two of his poems in college.  “September 1, 1939” was about the start of World War II, but also about oppression, and I couldn’t even grasp the complexity of his writing back then.  It wasn’t until I heard “Funeral Blues” (also known as “Stop All the Clocks”) read by the character of Matthew (John Hannah) at the funeral service of Matthew’s partner Gareth in “Four Weddings,” that I paid attention to Auden again.  Click on the link if you want to watch it again.

“Funeral Blues”

 

Funeral Blues (Song IX / from Two Songs for Hedli Anderson)
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 in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe 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.

 

 

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