Stop All The Clocks – Funeral Blues – Funeral Poem by W.H.Auden

Read by Marc Lemezma Funeral Celebrant


This poem is as fascinating as it is deceptive. It may seem familiar to you because it was used in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.

The opening lines fool you into thinking this may be a funny or humorous piece. However, line by line, the author’s anger, grief, and desolation become ever more apparent.

Published by W.H.Auden in 1938, it was initially part of a play and was considerably longer. It deftly explores the anger and resentment the author feels towards the rest of the world. Whilst they go about their business, as usual, he is bereft.

This new shortened version is sometimes spoken at funerals, especially by or on behalf of the deceased’s partner.

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.

Poetry is written to be shared, read and heard. Can I share or use this poetry? The poems I share on my website or social media are original or are regularly used at funerals and are presented to aid those researching poetry for use at their loved one's funeral service.. Wherever known, I do give credit and thanks to the author. If you know the author of any I have marked as ‘unknown’, then let me know, and I will amend the page. If you chose to share or use the poetry at a funeral or memorial service, please give the author credit. Many of these poems are original to me; please feel free to share those or use them if they seem right for your service. All I ask is that you give credit to the author.


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See the list of other Poems for Funerals