Friday, 11 July 2014

Stop All the Clocks - for my dear friend Lou Allin

I cannot smile today.  My dear friend has died, and all I can think of is this poem by W. H. Auden, meant for a lover, but equally appropriate for a friend.

For Lou: the best example of "Show Not Tell" I can think of:

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.

Postscript:  Five weeks ago, Lou Allin flew from Sooke BC to Toronto to present me with the Arthur Ellis Award, the very award that she herself had won the year before.  She was not well at the time.  You don't forget friends like that, ever.


  1. My commiserations to you. The loss of a friend is a real blow.

  2. Thank you, David. Lou was the sort of person who brightened your day by just being in the room.

  3. Such very sad news. I'm sorry for Lou and her family and friends, like you. I'm sorry for us all.

  4. Yes, Cindy. We've lost one of our own. I can't believe how much this hurts.