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FUNERAL BLUES From "Another time", by W.H. Auden

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From "Another time", by W.H. Auden


This poem is an appeal of a person who lost his love, because of the death of his friend.  

The title of the poem is "Funeral Blues". The author uses this two words to create immediately  an effect of sadness and melancholy. The blues, in fact, is a sad type of music and emphasizes the idea of melancholy, already implied in the word "funeral".

The poem is divided into four stanzas.

1st stanza:

In the first  two stanzas the author uses imperative form for a series of requests. In the first stanza he demands silence ("Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone" line 1; " Prevent he dog" l.2; "Silence the pianos" l.3) because the coffin must be brought out (l.4).

2nd stanza:

In the second stanza, the poet requires that the message "He is dead" must be written on the sky (from line 5 to line 6) and that people and animals must wear a sign of mourning (from line 7 to line 8) to honour and remember the dead.

3rd  stanza

In the third stanza we can see the close relationship between the poet and the dead: the dead person was a referring point in the life of the poet (from line 9 to line 11). Line 12 is the line which most  poignantly expresses the poet's despair. It begins conveying the poet's illusion that love can be eternal and continues with the abrupt "I was wrong", thus communicating a feeling of despair beyond words.

4th stanza:

In the fourth stanza the poet goes back to the imperative form because he wants to cancel out nature (from line 13 to line 15) because nothing has a meaning for him now (line 16). He loves this person so totally that death deprives poet's life of its meaning.


The text is divided into four stanza, each stanzas consists of four lines. The rhyme scheme is AA-BB-etc. and the poet uses rhyming couplets.

Auden has recourse to many imperatives to give an emphatic tone to the poem. He also uses an everyday language, in fact there are not much rhetorical ures. With the everyday language, he gives a direct and immediate impact on the reader.

In the poem there are: alliterations ("Working week" l.10; "My midnight" l.11), hyperboles ("Pack up the moon", "Dismantle the sun" l.14; "Pour away the ocean", "Sweep up the wood" l,15), metaphors (from line 9 to line 11) and anaphoras (from line 10 to line 11).


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