I first became acquainted with this poem while watching the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.
If you saw the movie (and few did not, it seems), you may recall the scene where this poem was read (during the funeral of Gareth, played by Simon Callow, the cheerful, adventurous lover of life who is felled by a sudden heart attack at one of the weddings). The poem is read by his domestic partner Matthew (played by John Hannah) in a haunting Scottish lilt which makes the poem even more sad and beautiful:
Funeral Blues (Part 1)
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 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.
— W. H. Auden