Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent he 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 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 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.
This poem was written by W.H. Auden in 1936. It is about a friend of the poet who died during the war. We can notice that in the first and second stanza, the verbs are all imperative and in the third stanza there is a declaration of love where the poet says his friend was his reason of life. In the last stanza, he says he doesn’t need anything because he’s dead and there is nothing that can give him love.
This poem is divided into four stanzas and each one is made up of four lines of irregular length, all lines are aligned and begin with a capital letter. There is a regular rhyme scheme (AABB-CCDD-EEFF-GGHH) and there are two run-on-lines: in lines 3-4, (“with muffled drum Bring out the coffin”) and in lines 5-6, (“Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky”). In addiction, there are four end-stopped lines (lines 4-8-12-16) and many consonances: lines 1-2, (“telephone-bone”); lines 7-8, (“doves-gloves); lines 9-10, (“West-rest”); lines 11-12, (“song-wrong”) and lines 15-16,( “wood-good”). There are two repetitions: in lines 5 and 8 (“Let”) and in lines 12, 13 and 14 (“My”).
In conclusion, I really like this poem, particularly when the poet make his declaration of love. This poem was read in Mike Newell’s film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.