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Transcript of Funeral Blues
By W H Auden
Wayne Huge Auden was born in York in 1907. He was educated at Oxford University and graduated in 1928. After he moved to Berlin, he came back to England to become a teacher. His early poetry had given a "witty and technically accomplished writer" according to his critics.
Seven years later he married a Erika Mann who was the daughter of the novelist. Their marriage enabled Mann to gain British citizenship and escape the Nazi Germany, even though Auden was a homosexual.
Later Auden was emigrated to US as he taught a number of American universities before he achieved citizenship in the US. He continued to publish his poems and was awarded for one of his published books. He passed away in 1973 at his cottage house in Austria.
About Funeral Blues
'Funeral blues" or " Stop all the clocks" was written by Wystan Hugh Auden in 1936. It is believed that this poem was written by Auden due to the cause of the love of his life. He expresses the devastation and grief that is strong and sincere.
The simplicity of the language creates s simple imagery and sending a message of saying "Death"
As mentioned earlier, the poem expresses feelings about a loss love one according to the unknown speaker in the poem. "He" expresses sorrow and grief and delivers a moment of silence in respect by stating to "stop all the clocks", "cut off the telephone'' ( no disturbs), "preventing the barking dogs from barking with a juicy bone" and "silencing the pianos". This gives a sign of respect.
The poem continues by giving an imagery of airplanes circling above the "mourners" witting in the sky "He is Dead" as a sign of acceptance and confirmation that his love is dead.
In the third Stanza, it is expressed by the narrator on how much he/she meant to him. He describes him as his everything. ( Directions on a compass, days of his week, times of his days). He quotes in thinking that love would last "forever" but proves himself wrong.
In the Last stanza, he mentions how nothing matters to him anymore, ( the stars, the Sun, the moon, the oceans or even the forests) as nothing could change or time could never turn back to the past, to the happy times he had.
The language is observed to be simple and straightforward. It is used this way to send a straightforward message which is "Death". The speaker aims to express his feelings by keeping the language simple giving the illusion that the speaker is sincere. He keeps the language simple as he shows that he is speaking from the heart, without thinking or making things complicated.
Throughout the poem, it is observed that the poem keeps a constant simple language which the reader can easily comprehend, but there is a deep meaning to the words used in poem. "Funeral Blues" gives a clear imagery of a funeral. However it is followed by the word "blues". Why not Black? (since people wear it during funerals or the loss of someone).
The word "blues" is used to represent sadness and gloominess. The color also represents Heaven according to "color-wheel-pro.com". The color blue is represented as Heaven as a sign to the speaker telling the readers that his love is now in Heaven , illustrating that the speaker's love was a good person.
As mentioned earlier, in the first stanza there is a clear description which represents silence in respect to the speaker's loss. It illustrates by stopping the clocks and cutting off the telephone ( so no sound or disturbance is present). Followed by silencing the pianos with a "muffled" drum. The word "muffled" is as sound which is not loud as it is being blocked or prevented (muted). This is used so the atmosphere in the poem is calm and silence. After everything is in silence, the speaker gives the permission for the coffin to be brought and the mourners to join the sorrow.
In the second Stanza it illustrates and allows the airplanes to fly above
the mourners heads and writing a message in the sky "He is Dead". It is believed that the speaker exaggerates this in acceptance that his loved one is dead. However the message is seemed to be described a being "Scribbled" giving the imagery that the writing in the sky is to some point messy/ untidy. The speaker announces to put "crépe" ribbons on the doves. "crépe" in this case means thin and light fabric.
In the last two stanza's the speaker expresses his feelings of his love for his loss and how he/she meant a big part of the speakers life. He expresses that nothing matters to him anymore. ( He says that the stars are not wanted anymore and every one of them should be taken, the moon should be taken away and the sun should be demolished, the ocean should be emptied out and every tree in the forest should be taken out.) as nothing l ever be the same without the speakers love.
Throughout the poem, there are words that represent a sad and unpleasant connotation. Words such as "Stop", "Cut off", "Prevent", "Silence" they all have a sudden and negative connotation. "Coffin" and "Mourner" gives a depressed and unpleasant scenario followed by the word "Dead". The colors in the poem such as "Blue" and "Black" represent a very depressing and cold emotion towards the readers.
The phrase "I was wrong" creates a very unfortunate moment for the speaker, feeling as if his prediction and theory was a failure and wrong.
With all these words that are represented in the poem with a feeling and emotions of sorrow and grief gives a clear statement that the speaker feels very sincere and upset of his loss.
In the Last stanza there are words such as "put out", "pack up", "dismantle", "pour away" and "sweep up" represents a separation and isolation of the world that the speaker chooses to be in as he is very upset.
As mentioned in the Summary, it is said that the poem was published in 1936. As a result it is clear that the poem was in form of Public. It is safe to say that the poem was published in one of Auden's published books named "The Years Poetry " which was published 1938.
The theme of the poem is visible throughout the poem especially when the title is written. The poem illustrates a funeral scenario where speaker expresses his sadness of his loss, describing the respect and silence that was being present, followed by the past memories of the speaker with his loved one. He ends the poem of how nothing matters to him in the world anymore as nothing could change or take him back to the past. In general the poem explains a clear theme of sadness, grief and sorrow of the speaker loved one who is dead.
The speaker of the poem shows a very strong tone of depression and grief. Throughout the poem the speaker keeps the tone and sound constant to show his sorrow.
Funeral Blues follows a "aa-bb" rhythmic structure. For example in the first stanza the words (according to the line order) "telephone", "bone", "drum", "come" they have a rhythmic pattern to how they are pronounced. This followed in all stanzas of the poem however with different pronunciation pattern. He keeps it simple to express his sincere.
Rhythm / Rhyme
There is no great deal of alliteration in this poem as it is following very simple and straightforward structure. But there were some present alliterations that were found. In third line it shows the words "clocks, cut", "the traffic", and also "nothing now". These words show and are proof of alliteration and to some extent give an effect on the poem. for example "clocks, cut" the emphasis is on the pronunciation of "K" sound, which is quite strong and is not a pleasant pronunciation. Another example "the traffic" is a strong sound and quite effective as if the phrase was trying to send an important message. Finally the phrase "nothing now" sends a harsh and negative effect to the readers.
In the first three lines of the third stanza, it shown that there is a lot of repetition of the word "my". (E.g. My North, my south, my east, my west, my Sunday rest, my working week, my midnight, my talk, my song) these words and phrases give an effect to the poem of how much he is missed by the speaker. The word "my" creates an effect by the speaker of how he was only the speakers true love. The speaker does this to show how much the speaker was in love and how much he meant to the speaker.
Context and structure
The structure of the poem seems to be organized in terms of the organized number of lines in each stanza, however it observed that the number of syllables in the poem is quite unorganized. The average of syllables found was around 10 to 11 syllables. The structure is kept simple as a result. The context of the poem is a description of a funeral which analyzed quite detail by the speaker, giving a very sad and unfortunate loss. It is obvious that the speaker is very respectful towards his loss and cannot imagine life without him.
Thank you !
In the first stanza, there is a metaphor and two oxymoron's recognized in the poem. On the third line of the first stanza the phrase "muffled drum" is given. As mentioned muffled is a quiet sound (to a point where the sound is muted) ( you can't hear it well). The speaker is exaggerating the sound of the drum and to an extent it is resulted as an oxymoron as the sound of a drum is known to be quite loud.
The second oxymoron recognized in the poem is on the second line of the first stanza which is the phrase "juicy bone". Bones are not known to be "juicy" in the words of the speaker so it is considered as an oxymoron. The speaker might be referencing the "juicy bone" as a chew toy for dogs.