W.H. Auden wrote “Funeral Blues,” the poem. Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) was born in York, England, and later became an American citizen. Auden was the founder for a generation of English poets, such as C. Day Lewis, and Stephen Spender. Auden s earlier works were composed of a Marxist outlook with a knowledge of Freudian Psychology. Later works consisted of professing Christianity, and what he considered increasing conservatism. In 1946 Auden emigrated and became an American citizen. While in America he composed many verse plays, travel memoirs, and Opera lyrics.
His last years of life were spent traveling and collaborating works of influential criticism.
“Funeral Blues” is a Song poem, in which it has a certain rhythm, or beat, which can be sung to. This poem is called a blues song. The blues were originally music developed by the slaves in the south that spoke of sadness, pain, or a time of loss. Blues songs were traditionally composed of three-line stanzas where the first two lines are identical and followed by a concluding riming third line.
However, Auden does not include the three-line stanzas in his poem, and it is written in a freestyle form with the rhyming pattern: AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, FF, GG, HH.
Death is the subject of this poem, and becomes clear when Auden says, “Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come”. This poem’s topic has to do with someone close to the narrator dyeing possibly a lover. Auden uses a great deal of imagery in this poem; such as, “Tie crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,” where he is talking about making the doves suitable for a funeral.
The tone of this poem, the attitude the writer speaks in, is very depressing and gloomy. “For nothing now can ever come to any good”. He is obviously upset about the one that he has lost and is in mourning.
The diction of this poem is Modern English with many allusions. “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;” this quote shows how close the narrator was to his lover, and how the narrator was deeply in love with him. “Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods; “. At the end of this poem, Auden personifies the sun, moon, ocean, and woods; he does not see any point in their beauty anymore now that the lover has died, and wants them to pack up and leave. Throughout this poem the narrator also uses other symbols to explain how the good things in life mean nothing now that the lover is dead.
I thought that this poem was very well written. Auden does an excellent job of using both old qualities of blues, and adding in his own ideas. Using a great deal of allusions, imagery, and personification made it easier to understand what he is feeling. Most of the poem was clear except the sex of the narrator, I believe the narrator to be a male, which would make him gay. The reason I believe this is because the poem seems to be written in a more masculine way than feminine. There is no evidence of this, but I feel as though it was a male narrator. The sex of the narrator is not a major concern in this poem, but it an interesting point, especially for the time era it was written in, when homosexuals were considered dirty. “Funeral Blues” was a great poem with a lot of imagery, which made it easier for you to understand how the narrator was feeling the whole time, and how he thought that without his lover, the world meant nothing.