Thursday, June 04, 2009

Theme Thursday: Clock

There are so many possibilities, but one stands out for me, a poem that comes to mind whenever clocks are mentioned. I went to YouTube to see whether I could find the video of John Hannah reading it, and I found it. Unfortunately, I cannot embed it, so I decided to send you there instead, to hear W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues.

Then, to my surprise, I found another video - I am not sure who is reading - and it's embeddable. Woo-hoo!

That one line, "Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves" breaks my heart.

Finding Funeral Blues inspired me to keep looking, and I soon found another Auden poem that mentions clocks.

This is "As I Walked Out One Evening".

That's Big Ben in the photo at the top of the page, of course. According to UPI, Big Ben is about to get a spring cleaning. The article also states that someone winds the clock three times a week. I did not know that. What a great job.

Thinking of Big Ben made me wonder whether it were Big Ben that Auden referred to in his poems, but that seems unlikely. He was born in York and educated at Oxford. I've never been to York, but I have heard the bells at Christ Church, Oxford, ringing the hours. I like to think of Auden passing beneath the Tom Tower clock and drawing on that memory to write both the poems I've featured.

Find more Theme Thursday posts here.


Ronda Laveen said...

The poems were amazing! It is nice to hear a good reader present them. Your new banner is fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

willow said...

I've always loved Funeral Blues. I haven't read it in years, though. Hannah's voice is such an apt conveyer, so melancholy and rich. Okay, yours is my favorite TT post today!

Marianna said...

I loved the poem in the video! Thank you :)


Poetikat said...

Sandra - Thank you for discovering these clips. They were both brilliant!
Is it Auden himself, do you think? Both were by the same person and I didn't recognize the voice.

"The glacier knocks..." verse was really powerful for me.

It also put me in mind of Leonard Cohen.


Sandra Leigh said...

Thanks, Ronda. I'm glad you like the banner. It's a photograph I took at Florencia Bay in Pacific Rim National Park.

Willow, I am honoured.

Marianna, thank you.

Poetikat, no. It doesn't appear to be Auden . There are quite a few poems on YouTube by various poets, posted by someone called "Spoken Verse", all read by the same man.

The Silver Fox said...

Not being a huge fan of poetry, I wasn't familiar with Auden, other than by reputation. Thanks for these.

John Hayes said...


Thanks for those poems. Whoever "Spoken Verse" is, he reads well, & those are both very good. I've always particularly liked "As I Walked Out One Evening"--it seems almost a perfect lyric poem of a sort.

Wings said...

Great post! :)

Wings said...

I went back and listened to the first poem again. So sad! Dang. :(

Brian Miller said...

wow. what a treat. great find and take on the theme! like the new header as well!

Sandra Leigh said...

Silver Fox, I hope you enjoyed the Auden - I have trouble with rhymed poetry, and I love Auden.

John, I agree. Maybe if I leave a comment on each of Spoken Verse's videos,asking who he is, he'll 'fess up.

Wings, Thank you -yes - very sad. I like to think of it as cathartic, but mostly, it's sad.

Hi, Brian. Thanks. I've ordered calling cards with that image on the front, I like it so much.

Debbie said...

I love clocks. Of all types.

Sandra Leigh said...

Me, too, Debbie. No, that's not right. I'm ambivalent about the electric, digital read-out kind, but I love old clocks. In my motor home, I have a cheap, battery-operated wall clock that ticks once a second (I think). A friend of mine came aboard, and the first thing she said was "How do you stand that ticking?" "Huh? Oh- it doesn't bother us. It's the Turtle's heartbeat."

Baino said...

Ooh bit of a funeral theme with some of these posts. Great poems tho. Somebody mentioned Auden on my blog today and it reminded me to look them up . .thanks . .I didn't have to, you've done it for me. Did you know that Big Ben is actually the bell, not the clock?

Sandra Leigh said...

Hey, Baino - yes, I remember somebody (the tour guide on the double-decker bus, maybe?) saying that Big Ben was actually the___, not the ___, but I can never remember which it was and which it wasn't. I'll believe you - although the first paragraph of the UPI article reads "Big Ben, arguably the world's most famous clock, is being spruced up after 150 years of marking time for the people of London, its keeper says." Sigh. It's enough to confuse an old lady.

Anonymous said...

Funeral Blues is beautiful and I love the voice--perfect. Such beauty on your site, thanks for shring.

Sandra Leigh said...

You're welcome, Kimmi. Thanks for dropping by.

subtorp77 said...

Wow! Love the new header, Sandra! And the poems are spot on for the topic. Well done :)

Mrsupole said...

Hi Sandra,

I too really like the new header. And the poems were great for this weeks TT of clock. I had not heard these poems before that I can remember, so nice treat for me.

Thank you for finding them for us.

God bless.

Sandra Leigh said...

Hi, Subby and Mrs. U. I'm glad you enjoyed the poems and the header. The header, by the way, was great exercise. I made it with the tip of one of my walking poles (and my camera, of course).

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