Study Guide

Funeral Blues Summary

By W. H. Auden

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Funeral Blues Summary

An unnamed speaker laments the death of someone close to him. (The speaker's gender is never given, but we'll refer to "him" from now on for convenience.) The speaker asks for quiet. He wants to stop all clocks and telephones and to silence barking dogs and pianos. He says to bring out the coffin of the dead beloved, and for the mourners to come.

He continues on in a similar vein; and asks the airplanes to write "He Is Dead" across the sky. He says that doves should wear white ribbons and that policemen should wear black gloves to commemorate the death.

Then things take a turn for the personal. He says that the dead man was everything to him—all points of a compass, every day of the week, every time of the day. And the worst part is that this experience has taught him that love won't last forever, as he once thought.

That's when he starts to really despair. He doesn't want to see the stars, the moon, or the sun. He doesn't want to see the ocean or the forest. Now that the dead man is gone, there is no good left in the world. None at all.

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