Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stop All the Clocks

I want to write about what happened.  But I'm not ready yet.  My own words are failing to capture anything more than a faint echo of it.  So I am relying on the words of others.  Matthew Arnold did a much better job of articulating grief.  W. H. Auden knows something of what I'm feeling, too.  Otherwise he could never have written this:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with a 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.

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