Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Funeral Blues

We watched the DVD of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" the other evening. We had seen it before and thought it was worth watching again. Richard Curtis (writer), Mike Newell (director) and producer (Tim Bevan) had first thought of calling it "Four Weddings and a Honeymoon," but decided to add some gravitas to an otherwise frivolous comedy by adding the funeral.

The funeral scene is very moving, utilizing the poem "Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden. Mike Newall commented that he thought the portrayal in this movie of Gareth (played by Simon Callow,) -- a joyful, outgoing gay man who died of a heart attack during a Scottish dance instead of AIDS -- did more for the cause of gay people than serious films such as "Philadelphia."

Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973)

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 in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe 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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