Stop all the clocks – a poem by W H Auden

WH Auden, Poet: Selected Poems

One day, while trawling through my LitBlogger RSS feeds I found W H Auden’s poem on BlookLust’s Blog.

The first time I heard this poem was in a movie, Three Weddings and a Funeral. I found the words so very profound, it makes me want to stand in silence as a mark of respect of those we’ve loved and lost, similar to when I hear The Last Post on Anzac Day or when I hear the bagpipes at a memorial. When I read it aloud it makes my voice escape me and tears well up.


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.

W. H. Auden
Copied from litblogger Booklust

Posted in Poetry
One comment on “Stop all the clocks – a poem by W H Auden
  1. JanetGS says:

    I love this poem as well, heartbreaking though it is. Four Weddings and a Funeral really used it well and is about my favorite part of the movie. Last fall, my daughter needed to write a paper about a poem for her English lit class and I recommended this one.