'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.
Film clip of the poem being read by John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
We are two bereaved parents who have teamed up with researchers at Yeshiva University and Memorial Sloan Kettering to study how the death of a child impacts parents’ lives, and the resulting ripple effects as life continues without our children. We invite you to participate in a survey which will help us develop resources to better support parents experiencing the heartbreak of child loss.
For mothers or fathers who have lost a child (or children) of any age, and would like to make a contribution to our understanding of bereaved parenthood, this is a way to make a difference.
For more details, you can contact the Principal Investigator:
Kailey Roberts, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University.
Thank you for your consideration --
Judith Kottick, LCSW and Jean Singer, PhD
IRB Approved at the Study Level, May 10, 2021. #30499052.0
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