Improve your English with Poetry

On June 30, 2018, I published a post: A Song with Dynamic Adjectives. I wanted to show you how effective a clever choice of English adjectives can be. I chose The logical Song by Supertramp

Awesome song-writers are really awesome poets. They can express a wealth of emotion, drama, and life experience in just a few verses. Music adds a further dimension. The Logical Song is an excellent example. The language is so ‘dynamic’, it almost jumps off the page! 

Today, to give you another example of beautiful English expression, I would like to share a classic poem with you. Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden is very different from The Logical Song. The language is very simple but powerful. In just sixteen lines, the poet perfectly describes the grief felt by the death of a loved one. 

Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden is a masterpiece.  The complete poem is included below. To fully appreciate poetry, it is best heard read aloud. I first heard this poem in the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and I won’t forget how it made me feel. It was brilliantly recited by the Scottish actor John Hannah. 

Click on the picture below to listen to the poem Funeral Blues recited by  John Hannah in the movie video, subtitles included. 

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 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.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ 

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This entry was posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Reading, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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