I would love to say that I chose this book because I saw it in some library and thanks to my keen eye and awesome brain, I decided to read it because I had this weird hunch that it was going to be amazing. Unfortunately, the reason why I chose it is far less poetic. I think a lot of us got to know this poet because of that movie. From the first time I watched it, I couldn't get a particular poem out of my head. It was recited by a man at his partner's funeral. Such a beautiful and intense poem. Those verses were filled with love and sorrow, vivid images and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I loved it. I knew I had to read more about the guy that was able to write such thing. Years and years passed by, and here I am. I found this collection and it was a delightful read.
Auden has a very personal style. He wrote about many issues such as love, loss, politics, religion. I'm no expert so I won't analyze forms and structures, but I did love the content. A lovely, evocative, wonderful content. I love when writers can take any ordinary situation and describe it like it's the most miraculous thing in the world and with every beautiful word that their language has to offer.
If I have to choose between heartbreaking, bittersweet, intense poetry and this... hmm. What to do? What to do... Tough call. (Yes, I'm still mad about that one.)
There are many poems that I loved: "Will you turn a deaf ear"; "The unknown citizen"; "In memory of Sigmund Freud"; "Law, say the gardeners, is the sun"; "The more loving one", "O what is that sound which so thrills the ear", "As I walked out one evening":
"…But all the clocks in the cityBegan to whirr and chime:'O let not Time deceive you,You cannot conquer Time..."
Anyway, I should end this review (I really need to find another word to describe these "things") with the most important part of the anecdote I previously shared. The poem I was referring to is "Funeral Blues" (you knew!). Its origins I refuse to believe. It's a beautiful thing to read and that's it.
Enjoy. Or weep.
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,Silence the pianos and with muffled drumBring out the coffin, let the mourners come.Let aeroplanes circle moaning overheadScribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the publicdoves,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 wood.For nothing now can ever come to any good.”