May out of the clouds of chanceA calm wind blow, a bird be sighted and steerStraight for your bough, and its pursuing loveBreak in the air, a scarlet target afloatFor the strength of your striking arrow; — Philip Larkin, from section III of “Now,” The Complete Poems, ed. Archie Burnett (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012)
Truly, though our element is time,We are not suited to the long perspectivesOpen at each instant of our lives.They link us to our losses: worse,They show us what we have as it once was,Blindingly undiminished, just as thoughBy acting differently, we could have kept it so. — Philip Larkin, from “Reference Back,” The Complete Poems… Continue reading Philip Larkin
Why did I dream of you last night?Now morning is pushing back hair with grey lightMemories strike home, like slaps in the face;Raised on elbow, I stare at the pale fogbeyond the window. So many things I had thought forgottenReturn to my mind with stranger pain:—Like letters that arrive addressed to someoneWho left the house… Continue reading Philip Larkin
Sad Steps Groping back to bed after a pissI part thick curtains, and am startled by The rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness. Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky. There’s something laughable about this, The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart (Stone-coloured light… Continue reading Philip Larkin
Loneliness clarifies. Here silence standsLike heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,Luminously-peopled air ascends;And past the poppies bluish neutral distanceEnds the land suddenly beyond a beachOf shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.” ― Philip Larkin, from “Here,” The Whitsun Weddings. (Faber & Faber; Later Printing… Continue reading Philip Larkin
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart (Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below) High and preposterous and separate— Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!O wolves of memory! Immensements! No, One shivers slightly, looking up there.The hardness and the brightness and the plain Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare Is a reminder of the strength and painOf… Continue reading Philip Larkin
The Mower The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found A hedgehog jammed up against the blades, Killed. It had been in the long grass. I had seen it before, and even fed it, once. Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world Unmendably. Burial was no help: Next morning I got up and it did not.The… Continue reading Philip Larkin
…we should be careful The first day after a death, the new absence Is always the same; we should be careful Of each other, we should be kind While there is still time. — Philip Larkin, from “The Mower,” Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001) Originally published October 10th 1988.
What will survive of us is love. — Philip Larkin, from “An Arundel Tomb,” Collected Poems. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; American ed edition April 1, 2004) Originally published October 10th 1988.
The camera of the eyeSpools out twelve months; the memorySpells underneath, — Philip Larkin, from “Poem,” The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin, ed. Archie Burnett (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012)