W.H. Auden - BaserEnglishProgram

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W.H. Auden
• Funeral Blues: 1936
• A Walk After Dark: 1948
Biography of W.H. Auden
W.H. Auden's full name is Wystan Hugh Auden. He was born on
February 21, 1907 at York, England. He passed away on September 29,
1973. Auden is an author, playright, and a poet whose poetry was
influenced by Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, William Blake, Emily
Dickinson, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. He has been admires for his
unsurpassed virtuosity and ability to write poems in nearly every
imaginable verse form ever since he published his collection Poems in
1928. Auden has visited Germany, Ireland, China, served in the Civil
War, and in 1939 moved to the US where he became an American citizen.
Hence, his poems frequently recounts, literally or metaphorically a
journey or quest, and his travels provided rich material for his verse.
A Walk After Dark
A cloudless night like this
Can set the spirit soaring:
After a tiring day
The clockwork spectacle is
Impressive in a slightly boring
Eighteenth-century way.
Yet however much we may like
The stoic manner in which
The classical authors wrote,
Only the young and rich
Have the nerve or the figure to strike
The lacrimae rerum note.
It soothed adolescence a lot
To meet so shameless a stare;
The things I did could not
Be so shocking as they said
If that would still be there
After the shocked were dead
For the present stalks abroad
Like the past and its wronged again
Whimper and are ignored,
And the truth cannot be hid;
Somebody chose their pain,
What needn't have happened did.
Now, unready to die
But already at the stage
When one starts to resent the young,
I am glad those points in the sky
May also be counted among
The creatures of middle-age.
Occurring this very night
By no established rule,
Some event may already have hurled
Its first little No at the right
Of the laws we accept to school
Our post-diluvian world:
It's cozier thinking of night
As more an Old People's Home
Than a shed for a faultless machine,
That the red pre-Cambrian light
Is gone like Imperial Rome
Or myself at seventeen.
But the stars burn on overhead,
Unconscious of final ends,
As I walk home to bed,
Asking what judgment waits
My person, all my friends,
And these United States.
A Walk After Dark Analysis
A Walk after dark is written just after the war unlike September 1, 1939, which is pre war. 1st stanza talks about the
event of war from time to time(clockwork spectacle) that people can see if truths are all revealed(cloudless night).Even
after a tiring day,a person\'s urge to change the world will set his/her spirit soaring, but they are still bound by customs
and rules (18th century way).
2nd:Sometimes somebody will rise and potray his wishes towards the authority to stop the war, and the generations of
people of nation will be soothed. But Auden could only shock the authority with what he did, and the authority will try
their best to cover the \'rebellion\',unless they are dead.
3rd:Auden did so much in the politic world, and yet he can\'t save the nation after years of effort from young to old;
but he is glad that atleast he is not the only one that is going to blame, there is those points in the sky (people of US:
stars) that did nothing for the nation, that will be blamed by future generations too.
4th:It soothes Auden( the people of nation) better to think that they did not do any fault, and the wars initiated by the
country is not of their fault, so that the next generation will take care of them, instead of keeping them aside, letting
them to rot to death. Auden is aware that the hope for peace and unity is gone when the war initiated the first attack,
and it will be lost forever, perhaps like his virginity (or myself at seventeen)
5th:No matter how much we hope to have a determined person to stand up and save the country, we know that only
the young(time) and the rich(power) can speak about the shedding of tears looking at the lost of humanity during
warfare and waste of young lives(lacrimae rerum notes). By this, Auden also shows that there is no hope to save the
nation because the young are dead, and the rich are not young.
6th:Auden compares the decision made in world war 1 and 2. The authority should have knew their decision is wrong
but they still ignore the truth and the cries of people that seeks peace(somebody chose their pain).The truth is, They
made the world suffer war again.
7th:The next generation of the nation might now have realized the reason they have to live in the world like that, and
even though all the countries in the world have agreed to peace, but the young and the rich may not follow the laws
set by the older authorities, because they think they are unfit to educate(school) them about the right way to rule.
8th:Those people(stars) that have once ruled the nation/cared for the country(including Auden himself) will not know
what is going to happen in the future. Auden only knows that he can\'t sleep well thinking about how much harm the
United States have done to the people; and he worries in future, what going to happen on all of the people in US.
Funeral Blues
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 in 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 forever, 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.
Funeral Blues Analysis
W.H.Auden's "Funeral Blues" focuses on death as a irreversible phenomenon Though people die ,this analysis of
"Funeral Blues" echoes that relationships don't.
The poem "Funeral Blues" was first published as "Song IX" from Twelve Songs (1936). The poem conjures the
atmosphere of a funeral. The tone of the poem is imperative as Death is commanding, inflexible and irreversible. The
speaker dictates to stop all the clocks as time had been arrested for the deceased. To the ones associated with the
dead person, Time had come to a standstill. All communication had been cut off, and therefore the telephone, a
metaphor of contact and communication has to be cut off. The dog barking with a juicy bone is silenced as instinct no
longer reigns supreme. The piano and drum are relegated as the harmony and beat of life has ceased. The coffin has to
be brought, and the mourner has to be summoned in the process of mourning.
The airplanes seem to be moaning overhead paying a salute to the departed. They pay a tribute to him by scribbling in
the sky his obituary. The public should be aware of the tragedy as the doves wear the crepe bows around their white
necks. The traffic policemen join in the ritual of mourning by wearing black cotton gloves.
The speaker then ruminates over the transitory nature of life, and the futility of existence. We presume that the glory
and attachments in this world are permanent. We associate with them , our way of life; the person dear to us becomes
our guide and direction as echoed by the words(East, West, North, South). They become both the reason for working
hard in life and our solace on resting days. The deceased person had once been their day and night-intricately
associated with the cycle of life. He stood for all his communication in life (talk) and song (his harmony and balance )in
life. The speaker had assumed that love would last forever; but finds it to be wrong as he is face-to-face with the
irrefutable truth that life is transient.
The very core of existence, the universe and the cycles seem to be pointless now. There is no point in reaching out to
the stars, every fire in it has to be put out, the fire of passion. The moon has to be packed off and the sun, the center of
the solar system dismantled. The ocean has to be poured away, where water is said to comprise two-thirds of the
world. The agony and frustration on the death of the person in question, is mirrored in the poem. The poet utilizes
hyperbole as with the metaphysical poets or the Petrarchan sonneteers. Let the woods be swept up. The speaker
invokes the violent imagery of Doomsday by these descriptions. Death is said to be another face of birth, as change is
inevitable. Now that the most cherished possession is gone, nothing new can hardly matter.
Comparison
“A Walk In the Dark” is about Auden’s disappointment in the U.S.
and how the ignored the cries of the people for peace and to stop
the war. “Funeral Blues” is about a funeral and how sad and
depressing it is to be at a loved one’s funeral. Both poems talk
about death in a sad way. “A Walk In the Dark” talks about how
there were many unnecessary deaths as a result of the war.
“Funeral Blues” talk about how after a loved one dies, it seems like
there is no point in existing anymore.
A Walk After Dark
What drew me to this poem was
the author’s tone. You can hear
the disappointment in his voice. It
shows his perspective on the war
and how he feels about it. He
talks about how there is little to
no hope left in saving this
country.
“As I walk home to bed,
Asking what judgment waits
My person, all my friends,
And these United States.”
Funeral Blues
What drew me to the poem was the
mood of the poem. It was sad and
depressing since it was a poem
about the funeral of a loved one. It
also made me wonder who the
poem was about. 'He' was used in
the poem once on the third verse,
so I can come to my own conclusion
that it was about Chester Kallman,
his lover. Noone's 100% sure who it
was about even till now, and it will
probably remain a mystery
Equal
Animals are friends
Not trends
Skin is color
Not a caller
Religion is belief
Not beef
Sexuality is preference
Not a Difference
We are all the same
No shame
Watching the Clock
I watch the clock tick
As seconds tick by slowly
Wanting school to end
Citations
• "W. H. Auden." - Poets.org. N.p., n.d. 06 June 2013. Web.
• "A Walk After Dark Analysis." W.H. Auden : Summary Explanation
Meaning Overview Essay Writing Critique Peer Review Literary
Criticism Synopsis Online Education. N.p., 29 Apr. 2012. 06 June 2013.
Web.
• "W.H. Auden Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. 05
June 2013. Web.
• "Poetry Analysis: W.H.Auden's "Funeral Blues"" Yahoo! Contributor
Network. Rukhaya M.K., 13 Oct. 2011. 06 June 2013. Web.

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