• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Stop All the Clocks…W.H. Auden’s Funeral Poem


Friends, Pammy Pam had a busy weekend. A beloved relative died and I traveled to my second hometown of Austin, Texas to celebrate her homegoing and her life. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, funerals can either be sad or happy.  My initial reaction upon hearing of my dear cousin’s passing was one of sadness.  I found this poem by W.H. Auden to describe my feelings well.

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 for ever: 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.


You might be familiar with this poem from Four Weddings and a Funeral.  After the funeral services, however,  we participated in a balloon release to signify releasing our grief.

balloon release.jpg


It was a beautiful and moving end to an emotional weekend. What unique ways have you said goodbye to loved ones?