Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stop All the Clocks, Cut Off the Telephone

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 the 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.

By W H Auden


Losing someone important to you is an experience that is universal. 

I say universal because it transcends all races, nations and gender.

Auden wrote of the pain from the death of a loved one that is so intense, so stabbing, so despairing, with such strong feelings of hopelessness, and our innate need to control, that I could almost feel it, myself.

The poem can be interpreted in different ways, but maybe I'm a conservative person. This seems to me to be the voice of a woman, speaking of her spouse, her lover. A spouse, or a lover, who was her everything, who was her life, her world.

"I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong."

Such a harsh reality. It completely shatters her, leaving her without even the will to carry on.

I guess many of us would think:
'Tsk tsk you silly girl ! What are you thinking? You must be stupid to feel there is no reason to keep on living. Only fools think that !"

But I guess you have no right to judge unless you've been there, in those exact shoes, yourself.

Everybody grieves differently. Everybody copes with the grief differently.

I just hope I never have to experience this.

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