One of my favorite laugh-out-loud blogs is CakeWrecks. During the week, the cakes featured are just flat awful, and the commentary tells it like it is. But on Sundays, they post photos of “Sunday Sweets” that more than make up for the week’s wrecks. They are made by the sort of professionals that inspire cake artists to go farther in their craft.
While I’m a writer by trade, I spend most of my time in prose, often of the marketing sort. Writing poetry this month is a challenge, and I suspect there will be more than one poetry wreck as I move along. So, Sunday will be a poetry sabbath for me. The work will be in reading some of my favorite poets and posting a Sunday Pro Poem.
Today’s poem is by WH Auden, a poet born in England who spent much of his adult life at universities in the US. The modern poets I had been exposed to were his contemporaries. But when I heard the poem Funeral Blues recited in Four Weddings and a Funeral I was blown away and had to look up other works by Auden. That’s the sort of inspiration I’m talking about.
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.
This poem hit me the same way To an Athlete Dying Young (AE Housman) did on first read. Yet Auden imbues this with such raw emotion that it goes beyond elegy into eulogy and lament. The despair is palpable, as is the connection between these lovers. It leaves me wondering how one recovers from loss so deep.