With an average of one person dying every three minutes and 40 seconds, (Australian Bureau of Statistics) many of us will have been unfortunate enough to experience the death of a loved one and experience the grieving process. Indeed, death poetry does not teach us how to die, but how to cope with death and the uncertainty created at the death of a loved one. It also emotionally supports its readers through its invited readings. Funeral Blues, or more commonly known as Stop all the clocks by W.H. Auden is a good example of the grieving process many people experience. Made famous in today’s society by the reading in the popular movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, and reducing the majority of the audience to tears, it is a heart-wrenching poem captivating the emotions of such a personal loss. Put crepe bows round the white necks of public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves
The author is so anguished by his loved one’s death that he feels the entire world should share his mourning. Integrating images that allude to public mourning such as black gloves and crepe bows on public birds, Auden emphasizes his expectation of public grief with these hyperbolic metaphors. The stars are not wanted now; put out everyone
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
Possibly the most moving stanza, it poignantly captures the pessimism everyone feels at the passing on of a loved one. With the use of exaggerated metaphors, Auden creates a world without sunlight, oceans and wood, a world that would not just be devoid of life but also of purpose. He considers his world to become apocalyptic without his soul-mate, but doesn’t particularly care since he feels he can no longer appreciate anything, be it good or disastrous in the world. He believes it to be rendered meaningless at this very personal loss. The sense of...