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Funeral Blues

Funeral Blues


by W. H. Auden

Funeral Blues Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #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. (1-4)

The speaker wants all communication to cease, or at least quiet down in the wake of his beloved's death. He doesn't want any noise, not even the noise of the private communication between two people on the telephone. Only silence can allow for his mourning. So…then why's he writing this poem?

Quote #2

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead. (5-6)

Skywriting. Now that's communication. The speaker wants the whole world to hear about and acknowledge the death of his beloved. He wants it written on the sky for all to see. In these lines, the speaker desires a public recognition of the man's death.

Quote #3

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. (7-8)

These images are examples of nonverbal communication of grief—symbols, to be precise. The black gloves, the crepe bows, are signs of mourning that he wants others to wear.

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