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 W.H. Auden has written some of the most beautiful poetry on love that I have read. People often refer back to Shakespeare (and his sonnets) as the writer who captured love in form and while I love Shakespeare and his ability to capture passion for women I believe Auden to have taken a point of view which captured my attention and took my gaze away from lovely old Bill.

One of the things that captured me was Auden’s ability to depict the entire spectrum of love. From family to lover his poetry beautifully encapsulates all of the forms of love that man can and is touched by throughout his life. The way in which he captures not only the rush and elation of a love that is new and excting but also those anxious fears which come with the knowledge that you have found true love leaves his readers, I think, once again wrapped up in the emotions that exist around this word love.

Though there are only ten poems within this small selection I think that my favorite is the last one entitled Funeral Blues which deals with the loss of a loved one.

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 on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working wee 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.

There is such a beauty in this poem, as with all of the others in the collection, because I don’t think there is a truer form of love than that which we encounter and express when we lose someone we love.

-Caitlin

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