“Stop All the Clocks, Cut Off the Telephone” by W. H. Auden

1408 Words Sep 16th, 2009 6 Pages
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone” by W. H. Auden

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
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Again, the author selects a new set of imagery, such as stars, moon, sun, ocean, and wood to remind of the heaven in which the speaker used to live, and then to sweep it off right away. The last statement “For nothing now can ever come to any good” (16) finally reinforces the speaker’s loss and unhappiness. In loneliness, the speaker’s love becomes fiercer and more truthful. It is the fierceness and truthfulness that lead the speaker to the last stair of hopelessness. The end of the poem is also the hopeless end of the speaker’s life because of “nothing …good.” Love makes people become selfish, but it is also makes the world greater. In this poem, the world that the speaker lives and loves is not limited in “my North, my South, my East and West / my working week and my Sunday rest” (9-10), it spreads to “My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song (11). The poem’s imagery dominates most of the third stanza giving readers an image of a peaceful world in which everything is in order. However, the last sentence of the stanza is the decisive element. This element not only destroys the inner world of the speaker, but it also sends out the message that love or life is mortal. There is no perfection in the world, so if there is love, there is separation. Through the first three stanzas, its language, its voice, and its imagery are used in an increasing level. Besides the words
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