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Stop All the Clocks - How are Auden's feelings communicated through imagery in this poem?

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Stop All the Clocks How are Auden?s feelings communicated through imagery in this poem? 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 This poem uses powerful imagery to communicate feelings of grief and despair after the death of a loved one. ...read more.


He portrays how we feel when we want to keep away from people and even ?cut off the telephone? and retreat into isolation. Of course, the first line is made even more powerful because it is not possible to stop all the clocks. The grief portrayed becomes even more inconsolable, because it would take impossible things to make him feel better. Stopping time itself would maybe bring the person back, too, but it mostly shows that the poet does not want to go on living himself. All signs of life should be removed, such as the happy dog barking with his bone and the sound of a piano. The poet will only accept the gloomy sound of a ?muffled drum? before the coffin and the mourners come. Until Auden writes ?Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come? he has been saying what not to do. Only when the world is silent and all mourning the same loss, can the coffin be brought out and people come to grieve. ...read more.


But what is really touching is the line ?My working week and my Sunday rest? because it shows the person was everything to him: he was there in good times and in bad, in normal times and celebrations. He was there in ?my talk? which is more mundane and ?my song? which is special. This makes it sound like a marriage, ?for better and for worse?. He ?thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.? In the last verse the real despair and pessimism comes in. Again, Auden commands us to do impossible things. He does not want the stars now, so tells us to ?put out every one?. His imagery of packing up the moon and dismantling the sun, bringing about the end of the world to mirror his grief, is hugely dramatic and effective. He is deeply pessimistic: there is no hope left at all: ?Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.? He has no reason to live without his loved one. ...read more.

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