Stop All The Clocks Poem By Auden Other (not Listed Above)

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Literature Type: Other (not listed above) Paper: #32777420 Related Topics: Stanza, Metaphor
Excerpt from Other (not listed above) :

Stop All the Clocks

This poem takes grief to another level. The poet uses rhyming couplets to take personal grief into the public realm. The poet uses metaphor, allusion, fictions and makes very good use of them. The poem is riddled with connotations, expecting the reader to understand the hyperbole because perhaps every reader has suffered through the gloom and depression of the death of a loved one, or in this case, the loss of love which seems very much like dying.

The poem projects ahead to a phantom funeral and wake, the whole world has been turned around. It is pretty clear that the whole poem is a metaphor for grief. The poet has lost a love, not a life, but when it comes to losing a loved-one, especially a romantic partner, it is...


The person who bemoans the loss of a romantic love feels very much like he or she has died, or certainly something inside has died.

When Auden writes, "Let aeroplanes [airplanes] circle moaning overhead / Scribbling on the sky the message HE IS DEAD" that is a reference to the dull roar of a small single-propeller airplane going round and round, and letting loose with those puffy white clouds that can leave messages in the sky (skywriting). The whole world should know how awful the poet feels.

Stop everything, stop the barking dog and stop the piano players. Colors become important in the poem, and the juxtaposition of colors adds richness to the grief.

"Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves"; crepes have color, are sometimes dark, and putting a bow the color of a crepe around the "white neck of public doves…" suggests strangulation, and hindrance to a bird that symbolizes freedom. So the act of putting a bow around the neck of a white dove is like saying one should snuff out life and freedom.

The poet wants the traffic cop to not wear the usual white gloves, but the poet doesn't say that. He says the traffic policeman should wear "black cotton gloves" rather than white suede gloves perhaps? Up until the 12th line in the poem, a reader might assume that there was a real death here. But the 12th line lets the alert reader know that it was a loss of love, not of life, that caused the horrific pain.


Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Auden, W.H. "Stop All The Clocks" English Department / Western Michigan University.

Retrieved May 8, 2015, from

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