Friday, March 5, 2010

Songs for Hedli Anderson (4 Seasons and A Funeral)- W.H.Auden

If this rings familiar as you read it aloud, it's because it was used with great effectiveness in the movie "Four Weddings And A Funeral", starring Hugh Grant.  The film is worth watching just for its recitation by one of the characters.  (It's also the only Hugh Grant movie I really like.)  The full poem is actually two poems, of which this is the first and more eloquent.  W.H. Auden (1907-1973) is considered the giant of English poets of the 20th Century.  He was a master of a variety of styles of poetry and all-around literary genius.  Besides poetry, he wrote essays, plays, criticism, opera libretto, etc.  I saw him on the Dick Cavett Show in '71 or '72 and remember dropping my jaw when another guest, Chad Everett, a VERY minor TV actor, defined chutzpah by RECITING ONE OF HIS OWN POEMS (I think about a horse) while sharing the stage with THE greatest English poet alive....   
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;

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Put away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden  -  English

No comments: