Can I poet with you – W.H. Auden 2

Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden was made famous by the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, when one of the key characters mourns the unexpected death of his partner.  It turns out, the poem was written in a different milieu, which I will share at the end of this post.

Funeral Blues by W.H. Audenw-h-auden

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.


Such heartbreak.  Such grief.

Auden first wrote it in 1936 as part of The Ascent of F6, a play that he co-wrote with Christopher Isherwood. In the play, Funeral Blues was satirical.  Read more at

Words are powerful.  The writer has one intent when s/he writes the words and then sends them into the world where they belong to each reader who brings their own meaning to the original words.  Then, if the words are lucky, they are defined again when spoken into the world, whether in class, a play, a lecture or a movie.


Four Weddings and a Funeral review by the late, great film critic Roger Ebert




About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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2 thoughts on “Can I poet with you – W.H. Auden

  • Lisa Johnson

    Nice series. I’ll have to go back and read the other posts as well. That last paragraph reminds me of how my mother describes feeling after her father died. Especially, “The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.” She said that she didn’t understand how the world kept on going like everything was normal, when her world had been blasted apart. But I have learned as I get older, that as we move through each day, we don’t know what other people are going through. No matter what they may look like on the outside.

    • Candelaria Silva Post author

      You are absolutely right that we cannot tell what people are going through by looking at them. There are depths of love, passion and sorrow and suffering all around us. Some of the people with the most grace are going through so much pain and vice versa. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.