Funeral Blues – Essay Plan

Choose a poem in which there is effective use of one or more of the following: verse form, rhythm, rhyme, repetition, sound.

Show how the poet effectively uses the feature(s) to enhance your appreciation of the poem as a whole.



  • Name of the text (“Funeral Blues”)
  • Name of the poet (W. H. Auden)
  • Date it was written (1938)
  • What is the text about (grief over the death of a lover)
  • What will your essay do (show how technique enhances appreciation of the poem)


Paragraph One – Form

  • Four stanzas of four lines – regular – structured – reflects idea of a song – makes it memorable
  • Iambic pentameter – a regular rhythm – reinforces idea of a song
  • Use of rhyme – couplets – like the chorus of a song


Paragraph Two – Tension and form

  • Use of sentence structure to create tension and climax
  • “I thought that love would last forever” – creates romantic idea – anticipation of romantic conclusion
  • Colon acts as a caesura – pause creates tension
  • “I was wrong” blunt, anti-climax to the line


Paragraph Three – Repetition

  • Stanza three – repetition of “my” is overwhelming – intense – creates feeling of possession (and consequently loss)
  • Long list of what the deceased meant to the poet – enjambment – runs on – creates momentum

Paragraph Four

  • Sound – Silence – First stanza – wants the world to respect the loss
  • “Stop all the clocks” – Wants silence – also shows he wants time to end
  • Reinforces how deep his grief is – he wants the world to know about the death
  • Goes on to ask for more silence “cut off the telephone”/ “prevent the dog from barking” – imperatives – commands



  • Form, structure, sound are all vital
  • Help us to understand the depth of the poet’s grief
  • Enhance our appreciation of the subject of loss, while also encouraging us to admire the poet’s skill

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