W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues” was first published as “Song IX” from ‘Twelve Songs’ (1936).The poem conjures up 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.
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
The airplanes seem to be moaning overhead paying a salute to the departed.…