Funeral Blues Questions and Answers
by W. H. Auden

Start Your Free Trial

What type of poem is Auden's "Funeral Blues"?  What are the indicators of the poem (is it lyrical or narrative)?  What sound or musical devices does the poem use?  

Expert Answers info

Octavia Cordell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write1,133 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The poem is an elegy , but I agree that the poem has a satiric (or at least ironic) element to it. The rhyme scheme supports this view; the poem consists of eight rhymed couplets, and this pattern gives the poem a kind of pat regularity that can be understood as undermining the seriousness of purpose normally associated with an elegy. The rhyming also emphasizes the hyperbolic nature of the poet’s reaction to the death of this unnamed person—sometimes this is quite funny (“Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead / Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’”) and sometimes delivers an unexpected punch (“My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song / I thought love would last forever. I was wrong”). The final two lines of the poem sum up Auden’s ambivalent relationship to the subject of the poem (“Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; / For nothing now can ever come to any good”)—on the one hand, it’s clear that this is meant to be seen as an overreaction, but...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 686 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer

bookB.A. from University of Oxford

bookM.A. from University of Oxford

bookPh.D. from University of Leicester


calendarEducator since 2017

write2,279 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write7,337 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

drmonica eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write700 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial