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Merry Christmas

Whether you celebrate now, have already celebrated your past holiday, are planning to, or not, I hope you find yourself surrounded by family and those you love during this holiday season and are able to remember fondly those who are not with you.

We often find ourselves buried in work, or too distracted by other problems, to share and remember a few moments with those closest to us. So many of us are separated by huge distances, we often find it easier to focus on those who are out of arm's reach yet so easy to connect with online, instead of those who are right beside us.

So do yourself a favour, put down the keyboard (stylus, mouse, etc) and spend that time. I know I will.

Merry Christmas.


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Comments

Virginia said…
HI there, I found this blog through someother one. I'm trying to find the original 5 stanza version of WH Auden's "Funeral Blues". Do you have it? Do you think you could send it to me? It's so hard to find! Thanks!
Andrew MacNeill said…
Unfortunately Virginia, the only people who would have it are those who have the actual book or play (or TV show).

I'm still trying to find it.

Sorry.
Nett Flanders said…
It turns out the first two stanzas were written for a play Auden wrote with Isherwood called The Ascent of F6. F6 is a fictional mountain. (Not a bomber jet, as I was inclined to think.) Its name is presumably meant to evoke K2, which Auden's brother once climbed. He was a geologist. Fun fact! (Another fun fact: K2 is the second-highest and second-deadliest mountain in the world. You would think the deadliest would be Everest, but no! Annapurna has the highest fatality rate. On a related note, I happened to be the second of two K's at work and signed my e-mails as K2 for the duration of my employment. Every time someone died on K2 while I worked there, I felt responsible. But I digress.) In this play, the British government cajoles some climber to go up F6 and he gets killed from a surfeit of glory or something. I haven't actually read it. Point is, the poem that his distressed lover sings about this begins with the first two stanzas of "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.

And then it takes a turn:

Hold up your umbrellas to keep off the rain
From Doctor Williams while he opens a vein;
Life, he pronounces, it is finally extinct.
Sergeant, arrest that man who said he winked!

Shawcross will say a few words sad and kind
To the weeping crowds about the Master-mind,
While Lamp with a powerful microscope
Searches their faces for a sign of hope.

And Gunn, of course, will drive a motor-hearse:
None could drive it better, most would drive it worse.
He’ll open up the throttle to its fullest power
And drive him to the grave at ninety miles an hour.
Andrew MacNeill said…
Wow Nett - thanks for the detailed description and the rest of the poem...

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