Classics Club October Question

Monday, October 6, 2014


Let’s talk about classic poetry! Have you got a favorite classic poem? Do you read poetry? 

Poetry is my Achilles Heel as a reader. I just can’t seem to get into it. There are rare occasion when I will come across a piece that resonates with me though and one of those is W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues.” I think the first time I heard it was when I saw “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” After that I read more of Auden’s work and I loved it, but “Funeral Blues” is still my favorite.

Funeral Blues
by W.H. Auden

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.
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.

Do you have a favorite poem?
Join in the fun at the Classics Club Blog.


annieb said...

I'm with you about poetry most of the time, however, a lot of Billy Collins resonates with me. I love Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters and read it every ten years or so. And I like much of E.E. Cummings. I think it is like any fiction--you have to look around for what appeals to you. I like the Auden poem as well.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

annieb - I'm going to have to try Collins, Masters and more of E.E. Cummings work. I'm always looking for poets that click with me.

Anonymous said...

Auden's poem is so moving, and they used it really well in that movie. I had a hard time getting into poetry when I first started studying literature. For me, John Keats was one of the ways in. 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is still one of my favourites. The sonnets of Shakespeare were also incredible; even though I barely understood them, I loved the flow of the language. :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

majoringinliterature - Yes on Shakespeare's sonnets! Those are one of the few pieces of poetry I've loved. I've enjoyed Keats as well.

Life and Dreaming said...

Favorite? It's a tie between Elizabeth Bishops "One Art" and the less well known "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden:

Those Winter Sundays
Robert Hayden, 1913 - 1980

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Copyright © 1966 by Robert Hayden, from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Aparatchick - Oh how beautiful, thanks for sharing that!

CJ_Apple said...

I go in and out of poetry moods. When I am in a poetry mood I really enjoy it. But for me poetry requires a certain kind of mindset and when I can't get into that mindset I can't get into poetry. But I'm glad this is the Classic Club's meme for October. I've been wanting an excuse to post about Emily Dickinson. Good choice of a poem - I like what I've read of W.H. Auden and want to read more by him.

Jeanne said...

Yes, I also love that Auden poem and love how it was used in the movie.
Sometimes I think my favorite poems are by Auden, and then I think about Philip Larkin and W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens. Lately I think a lot about "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm."
A poem I think you might like is "Love Calls Us to the Things of This World"

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

CJ_Apple - I've been wanting to read more of Emily Dickinson's work since I saw a play about her life. I need to get on that.

Jeanne - Just lovely. See I need people like you feeding me poems to read! Then maybe I'll learn to appreciate them.