W.H. Auden: XX

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More of Auden is available on Voices:

"Epitah on a Tyrant"

Auden and the Spanish Civil War and "O What is That Sound"

"The Shield of Achilles" and "September 1, 1939"

"In Time of War" and "Funeral Blues"

XX

A wartime poem by W. H. Auden, written in 1945

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 woods:
For nothing now can ever come to any good.