Below are the final words of the Auden poem read out as a eulogy and statement of love in the funeral of the film "Four Weddings and a Funeral", which I saw (far too late one night) on television this week.
"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".

It is strange. I have seen this film at least half a dozen times. When I was staying at Pentland Hall in England in 2004, the students there would watch it on the lounge television about once a week or more I would think – sometimes merely to watch Hugh Grant, or the Greenwich Painted Chapel – used for one of the weddings. Every time I see it I wonder anew at how badly Andy McDowell acts – a beautiful lady for sure, but oh such a bad actress! Still she does not manage to ruin a true chick-click film.

The film depicts a man waiting for a thunderbolt to hit him with the realization that he is in love…and it is not until the end of the film that we see the lightning strike leading in to a thunderbolt as he is in the arms of the woman he has loved for a long time.

So, does love strike in a thunderbolt? Or does it come on slowly but surely? It appears to me that love is an elusive and ephemeral state. I am not the right person to answer this question…sure I am a romantic, but I am so cynical now  that I think that anybody else would find my boundaries too difficult to overcome and not worth the effort.

After all there is evidence to show that the chemical reaction that feeds the emotion of love dissipates after a maximum of 18 months. Science even intrudes upon such an emotional aspect of our lives! So how quickly does the chemical reaction take to start and what sparks it off? Is it a thunderbolt reaction, or does it bubble away taking time to float to the surface? Can one set the reaction going again? I guess that is like asking if love at first sight does exist. there will be many answers to this – depending upon one’s own experience.

I am content that there is nobody to talk about me as in the poem above As I walk alone through the storm of my life, I am not afraid of the dark. Maybe in the darkness a lightning strike will appear to lighten my way….

About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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