Funeral Blues Poem by W. H. Auden

'Stop the clocks, cut off the telephone' is the opening line of this famous poem, which has been used for many funerals.  It exists in two versions. The original was written in 1936 as a satire for a political leader and part of a play.  The more well-known version, which has the same two opening verses was written in 1938 for the composer Benjamin Britten who set it to music as part of the 'Four Cabaret Songs for Miss Hedli Anderson'. 

This version of the poem was popularised when it was read in the film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'.  We have shared a film clip of that below, as well as the poem being read by the actor Tom Hiddleston.  

We have also included videos below of the Benjamin Britten song, and another modern song set to the poem by Nemo Shaw.  


Funeral Blues by W 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.

Funeral Blues by W H Auden Poem

Film clip of the poem being read by John Hannah in Four
Weddings and a Funeral. 



Poem Read by Tom Hiddleston


The poem has also inspired several songs including
this one by Nemo Shaw: 


Benjamin Britten setting sung by Della Jones: 


Benjamin Britten setting sung by Performed by
Alexia Mankovskaya, soprano




> > Funeral Blues Poem

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