‘He had been my Northern, my personal Southern area, my personal Eastern and West’ is actually a column as to the could be W. H. Auden’s most useful-known poem, ‘Funeral Blues’ (as it’s commonly known) or ‘Stop most of the clocks’ (since it is commonly known, following its starting terms and conditions). But what is the concept of so it line, and Auden’s poem as a whole?
Auden’s poem was an enthusiastic elegy: a good poem discussing somebody who has passed away. The range ‘He was my personal North, my personal Southern, my personal Eastern and you will West’ reflects brand new breadth out-of his feeling and you will simply how much the person designed to him: as northern, southern area, east, and you can west shelter all four cardinal issues of compass, ‘He had been my Northern, my Southern, my Eastern and you may West’ is another technique for saying, ‘he was my everything’ or ‘he had been everything so you’re able to me’.
But there is however a great deal more to that poem than simply fits the attention. Auden’s poem try brought to a whole new audience if it was quoted entirely regarding 1994 flick Four Wedding events and a funeral. This new rise in popularity of the film, additionally the star John Hannah’s swinging understanding of poem in the the fresh ‘funeral’ of the film’s title, led to Auden’s creator, Faber and you may Faber, giving a slim brochure off Auden’s love poems (with a photo away from Hugh Offer, this new film’s superstar, in the place of Auden toward book’s safety!). One thin range are a top seller and you will bankrupt posting facts having a book of poems penned in the uk.
The poem’s third stanza opens up with the range, ‘He had been my North, my Southern area, my personal Eastern and you may West’. It stanza makes clear that the son getting elegised is everything you toward poem’s audio speaker: no matter where he had been, or exactly what big date it had been, or what time, brand new dead-man try brand new speaker’s lifetime.
This indicates the audio speaker try these are over good pal, which will be lamenting the increased loss of an enthusiast. Auden himself is actually homosexual, and also the proven fact that the latest poem try a keen elegy of the a good men poet for a dead male spouse is obviously how poem is actually translated in Four Weddings and you may a funeral, where John Hannah’s profile recites this new poem at loss of his spouse, starred by Simon Callow. ‘
It is absolute, following, when deciding to take brand new poem at face value and find out it’s a relocation and you will polite elegy verbal (and you can written) because of the one man regarding the more guy. All of our default position which have perceptions out-of lyric poetry should be to the private, as easy conflation of one’s presenter of the poem which have the fresh poet on their own can make clear. Therefore we cam out-of ‘Philip Larkin claiming it or you to definitely in the poem’ otherwise ‘Sylvia Plath stating this lady despair at the X or Y’. But while it is usually the case the audio speaker away from the new poem and also the poet are one to and exact same, it can’t be studied without any consideration.
Plus it yes shouldn’t be assumed during the Auden’s case. Rather than even for ‘Funeral Blues’, which allegedly heartfelt phrase of grief throughout the poem’s 3rd stanza: ‘He was my personal Northern, my personal Southern area, my East and you can West’.
Curiously, the newest poem began lifetime once the an item of burlesque giving up blues words of 1930s: Auden in the first place had written they having a gamble he had been working together into the with Christopher Isherwood, The fresh new Ascent from F6 (1936), which was maybe not a totally severe piece of drama (although it was recharged once the a disaster).
But it has actually however feel a bona-fide and heartfelt term away from grief to a large number of clients, and you can a favourite training at funerals.
‘He had been my North, my Southern, my personal East and you can West’ keeps hence hit an interested twin reputation due to the fact one another an announcement laced having irony and you may mockery and you will (thank you so much specifically to the Richard Curtis film) a great cri de- coeur expressing brand new gaping death of sadness, the new hopeless desolation off shedding someone who intended the country to help you you.
And you can at all, once we eliminate somebody, is i maybe not very likely to indulge in exaggeration? Contemplate all the music in the losing this new passion for your lifetime and that chat of your own lost beloved as the speaker’s ‘entire world’, his or her ‘everything’, etc. ‘He had been my personal Northern Bloomington IN sugar baby, my Southern area, my Eastern and you will West’ groups real because the we could all of the associate towards hyperbole one attends such a feeling of break down, regardless if we all know deep down that it’s hyperbole – much as it began, deliberately therefore, for the Auden’s poem.