Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Inappropriate Interpretation Of A Heart-Rending Poem

Someone pointed me to a very sad poem by W.H. Auden today. I first heard it in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. However, I just realized that for "He was my North, my South, my East and West" to be true, one of the lovers must be at the north pole and the other must be at the south pole.

Also, the dead lover seems to exhibit superposed quality of space, time, information, and matter. (See the highlighted part of the full poem below.)

The full poem is this:

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 wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

If you recite it in an appropriate way, you can summon tears to your eyes.

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