Stop the clocks, Auden said,
Like grief was something quiet
And still; a deep breath and calming
Through stiff lips by stoic men
In mourning dress on damp
Tarmac streets, where heavy skies,
And terraces with dun,
Rendered walls and sodden lawns,
Dull the hearse’s engine,
Effect numb the congregation.
And though the poet turns
The verse to private lamentation
And writes his loss across
The skies and finds no words worth
Rhyming: it’s not enough.
The clock is stopped, the world stilled,
The metre’s taken measure,
The loss is parsed in careful, weighted
Metaphor – because
Auden’s too refined to say
That grief is snot and fury,
Torn photographs and ragged
Scabs and endless hours
Spent in tortured spinning circles.
And Time’s the frozen vortex
Where we once floated,
I am now sinking,
Raging, and nothing ever changes.
What world waits for Auden,
But will not wait for me?