W.H. Auden wrote a fabulous poem about losing someone who means the world to you.
This poem has good verbs, so it’s good material for a listening activity. Most of the verbs I removed from the poem in the gap-fill below are made up of two words. English verbs are like that. Think of “eat up”, “figure out”, or “look forward to.” Oh, one of the missing words is a verbal noun.
(1) __________ all the clocks, (2) __________ the telephone
(3) __________ the dog from (4) __________ with a juicy bone
(5) __________ the pianos and with muffled drum
(6) __________ the coffin, (7) __________ the mourners come.
The stars are not wanted now: (8) __________ every one
(9) __________ the moon and (10) __________ the sun
(11) __________ the ocean and (12) __________ all the wood
For nothing now can ever (13) __________ any good.
If the class likes the melody, allow them to write their own words. There’s a karaoke audio below.
I took the first and last (of the four) verses and adapted them to music. To find the whole poem, just do a search for Auden and “Stop All the Clocks.”
Key: (1) stop, (2) cut off, (3) prevent (4) barking, (5) silence, (6) Bring out, (7) let, (8) put out, (9) pack up, (10) dismantle, (11) pour away, (12) sweep up, (13) come to
Extra voices: Kristin Venuti, Patricia McCaughey