19 May 2010

in remembrance

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 crêpe 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.

Though the Auden words are jarring and desolate- He expresses the initial grief  that blankets us when the love of our life ceases to be.  Solace will come, But, In time.

(I have lost two special friends- in the last few days, An immensely talented childhood friend, His voice in song and laughter will be sorely missed- a sacred but lamenting silence. A friend and client- his fully engaged participation and interest in the design process made this project more successful and just more fun.  Both left beautifully strong women-these W H Auden words- are for them.)

Cy Twombly, "Untitled" paintings from here


  1. Susan Adler SobolMay 19, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    A poor night's sleep. We received an hysterical phone call last night from one of my children that her best friend's dad had died suddenly yesterday. He leaves behind three young daughters and a lovely wife. We are in shock. I open up my google reader and yours is the first post I see. I am familiar with Auden's words. Thank you.

  2. Susan, it seems that night adds to that sense of loss. The death of a parent-for me my father- was the greatest I have suffered, and been strengthened by. Auden's immediacy in this poem is most poignant. PGT

  3. Just a wonderful poem; and I like the choice of artwoek you highlighted to accompany the poem. A loosely drawn circular shape, with no beginning, middle or end.
    Gloriously written & quite the truth; the night is a creature all of it's own.

  4. I am, sadly, quite familiar with Auden's words which resonated loudly as I watched my mother upon my father's passing and felt my own grief. As I watch her now, a few short years later, I can say that the love does indeed last eternally. Though it could never have felt that way immediately. As you said...in time.

    My sincerest condolences for the loss of your special friends.


  5. Your losses are heartbreaking. One never knows how to choose words to express our deep grief. Your choice of the Auden poem was inspired, uplifting, a tribute to those no longer with you and a beautiful sentiment for those who remain.

    I am so very, very sorry.

  6. I am so very sorry, my sincerest condolences.
    My mother is visiting me, and we were honoring the passing of our departed family members a bother, a sister, and my father. It was my departed brother's birthday. We remembered and reminisced.

    How do we regain our centers after such sudden and seemingly unendurable loss?

    With time and well chosen words.

    Best wishes,


  7. I knew this poem once and forgot about it. The other day, I asked my husband what was the poem that sounds like this...and imitated the meter. "It's Auden, of course," and he recited it to me. Sorry for the loss of your friends. One alone is hard to take, but when when death comes in pairs, it seems relentless. Thinking of you.

  8. I'm sorry you lost your friends. This blog has been a memorial too often, but that is because you have many friends and love them well.

  9. Though we know those who have touched our souls will always be with us,
    the loss of being able to reach out and grasp a hand or give a hug
    cuts so very deeply.

    My sincerest condolences -


  10. How can one overcome such pain? This poem is so beautiful. It quietly reminds us there is nothing more imoprtant then the loved people around us!
    I think of you and I am so sorry for the loss of your friends!


  11. The French say 'la nuit porte conseil' (the night brings comfort) but actually I think the nights are the worst. Very sorry for your losses, it is a shock to have one but then two makes it really challenging. I have always loved that poem it captures so well the overwhelming 'can't go on' feeling of grief. xoxo

  12. I am so very very sorry.... you are your loved lost ones in my thoughts.

  13. Dear PGT, I'm so sorry for your loss. I too love Auden's words. Thinking of you. Love Christina xx

  14. I was bumping along here enjoying each post (immensely) as per usual...and then came upon this one. I am so saddened by your loss, not familiar with these words, but unfortunately familiar with the sentiment nonetheless. My condolences.



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