Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"The death of any familiar person - the death, even, of a dog or cat - whether loved or not leaves an emptiness. The great tree goes down and leaves an empty space against the sky. If the person is deeply loved and deeply familiar the void seems greater than all the world remaining. Under the surface of the visible world, there is an echoing hollowness, an aching void - and it cuts one off from the beloved. She is as remote as the stars. But grief is a form of love - the longing for the dear face, the warm hand. It is the remembered reality of the beloved that calls it forth. For an instant she is there, and the void denied."
- A Severe Mercy

My uncle read this poem at the funeral of his wife a couple years ago:

W.H. Auden "Funeral Blues"

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 for ever: 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.

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