Early in the collection, Young includes a poem, “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden, that was read at his father’s service. It begins:
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.
It’s that ability — to express a feeling like the one that arrives quickly after the loss of a loved one — that poems like Auden’s wield.
“I think that’s a real part of grief that we sometimes aren’t able to talk about and I think that poetry talks about perhaps better than anything else,” Young tells NPR’s Renee Montange. “It’s able capture a moment, a feeling, perhaps a fleeting feeling, and even make — as that poem does — music out of it.”