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Stop All the Clocks

clockmidnight.jpgThe last time I had been in that living room was a few weeks earlier. Some members of my church and I had come caroling. The elderly couple positively beamed at the visit. Evelyn grinned from ear to ear. After we had finished singing she rushed about to make sure all the carolers had some treat or another, paying special attention to the children.

I looked around the quiet room now. Once filled with song it was now void of the jolly Christmas lights. Needlepoint was framed and hung on the walls and symmetrically placed portraits of grandchildren had a place of honor. Arnold, a small man, filled the room with his barely suppressed emotions. He had a smile that didn’t quite extend to his eyes. He pointed to a clock on the other side of the room. “It stopped last night when she died,” he said matter-of-factly.

I nodded, amazed but not really surprised. So much of Evelyn was in this place. Why should the house that she called home, that she made home, be denied its mourning?

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.

W. H. Auden


Thanks for this touching tribute. Evelyn sounded like a lovely and kind woman.

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