Philip larkin for edulink

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Philip larkin for edulink

  1. 1. Modern PoetryPhilip Larkin:– “Church Going”– “The Whitsun Weddings”– “Talking in Bed”– “Sad Steps”– “Aubade”Ted Hughes:– “Wind”– “Pike”– “River”– * “November”– * “The Bull Moses”(* Handout)
  2. 2. Philip Larkin (1922-85)(Photograph by Philip Sayer)
  3. 3. • English poet and novelist. Larkin was bornin Coventry, and educated at St JohnsCollege, Oxford University, where hestudied English.• From 1943 he worked as a librarian inShropshire, Leicester, and Belfast,eventually moving to Hull in 1955, wherehe lived and worked for the rest of his life• His contribution to the modernizing andmaintenance of the University of Hulllibrary, which he oversaw from 1955 untilhis final illness, was a process that madethe library the centrepiece of theuniversity.
  4. 4. • Larkins earliest poems were published asThe North Ship (1945) and in a pamphlet,XX Poems (1951).• In his next collection, The Less Deceived(1955), Larkins unique combination of thecolloquial and the ruminative begins toemerge in poems like “Church Going”.• Two later collections, The WhitsunWeddings (1964) and High Windows(1974), extended the range if not the toneof his poetry, engaging with politics,topography, and history and ancestry.
  5. 5. • Alan Brownjohn describes Larkin’s poetryin these terms: “As a poet he has taken ashis themes such things as the gapbetween human hope and cold reality; theillusory nature of choice in life; frustrationwith ones lot in a present which is dismal,and in the face of a future which bringsonly age and death.”• But there are widely divergentinterpretations of the astuteness and valueof Larkins perspectives.(Background to Larkin drawn from article by Ian Sansom)
  6. 6. • Politically and aesthetically conservative• Artistically engaging• One of the ‘Movement’ poets• Oxford graduate; librarian for most of hislife• His poetry has a surface simplicity, but adeeper complexity
  7. 7. This Be The VerseThey fuck you up, your mum and dadThey may not mean to, but they do.They fill you with the faults they hadAnd add some extra, just for you.But they were fucked up in their turnBy fools in old-style hats and coats,Who half the time were soppy-sternAnd half at one anothers throatsMan hands on misery to man.It deepens like a coastal shelf.Get out as early as you can,And dont have any kids yourself.
  8. 8.  High WindowsWhen I see a couple of kidsAnd guess hes fucking her and shesTaking pills or wearing a diaphragm,I know this is paradiseEveryone old has dreamed of all their lives –Bonds and gestures pushed to one sideLike an outdated combine harvester,And everyone young going down the long slide
  9. 9. To happiness, endlessly. I wonder ifAnyone looked at me, forty years back,And thought, Thatll be the life;No God any more, or sweating in the darkAbout hell and that, or having to hideWhat you think of the priest. HeAnd his lot will all go down the long slideLike free bloody birds. And immediately
  10. 10. Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:The sun-comprehending glass,And beyond it, the deep blue air, that showsNothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
  11. 11. Vers de SociétéMy wife and I have asked a crowd of crapsTo come and waste their time and ours: perhapsYoud care to join us? In a pigs arse, friend.Day comes to an end.The gas fire breathes, the trees are darkly swayed.And so Dear Warlock-Williams: Im afraid –Funny how hard it is to be alone.I could spend half my evenings, if I wanted,Holding a glass of washing sherry, cantedOver to catch the drivel of some bitchWhos read nothing but Which;Just think of all the spare time that has flown
  12. 12. Straight into nothingness by being filledWith forks and faces, rather than repaidUnder a lamp, hearing the noise of wind,And looking out to see the moon thinnedTo an air-sharpened blade.A life, and yet how sternly its instilledAll solitude is selfish. No one nowBelieves the hermit with his gown and dishTalking to God (whos gone too); the big wishIs to have people nice to you, which meansDoing it back somehow.Virtue is social. Are, then, these routines
  13. 13. Playing at goodness, like going to church?Something that bores us, something we dont do well(Asking that ass about his fool research)But try to feel, because, however crudely,It shows us what should be?Too subtle, that. Too decent, too. Oh hell,Only the young can be alone freely.The time is shorter now for company,And sitting by a lamp more often bringsNot peace, but other things.Beyond the light stand failure and remorseWhispering Dear Warlock-Williams: Why, of course -
  14. 14. Church GoingOnce I am sure there’s nothing going onI step inside, letting the door thud shut.Another church: matting, seats, and stone,And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cutFor Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuffUp at the holy end; the small neat organ;And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take offMy cycle-clips in awkward reverence,
  15. 15. Move forward, run my hand around the font.From where I stand, the roof looks almost new –Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don’t.Mounting the lectern, I peruse a fewHectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce“Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant.The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the doorI sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.
  16. 16. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,And always end much at a loss like this,Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,When churches fall completely out of useWhat we shall turn them into, if we shall keepA few cathedrals chronically on show,Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases,And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?
  17. 17. Or, after dark, will dubious women comeTo make their children touch a particular stone;Pick simples for a cancer; or on someAdvised night see walking a dead one?Power of some sort or other will go onIn games, in riddles, seemingly at random;But superstition, like belief, must die,And what remains when disbelief has gone?Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,
  18. 18. A shape less recognisable each week,A purpose more obscure. I wonder whoWill be the last, the very last, to seekThis place for what it was; one of the crewThat tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiffOf gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?Or will he be my representative,
  19. 19. Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly siltDispersed, yet tending to this cross of groundThrough suburb scrub because it held unspiltSo long and equably what since is foundOnly in separation – marriage, and birth,And death, and thoughts of these – for which was builtThis special shell? For, though I’ve no ideaWhat this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,It pleases me to stand in silence here;
  20. 20. A serious house on serious earth it is,In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,Are recognised, and robed as destinies.And that much never can be obsolete,Since someone will forever be surprisingA hunger in himself to be more serious,And gravitating with it to this ground,Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wisein,If only that so many dead lie round.
  21. 21. Church GoingOnce I am sure there’s nothing going onI step inside, letting the door thud shut.Another church: matting, seats, and stone,And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cutFor Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuffUp at the holy end; the small neat organ;And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take offMy cycle-clips in awkward reverence,
  22. 22. Move forward, run my hand around the font.From where I stand, the roof looks almost new –Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don’t.Mounting the lectern, I peruse a fewHectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce“Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant.The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the doorI sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.
  23. 23. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,And always end much at a loss like this,Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,When churches fall completely out of useWhat we shall turn them into, if we shall keepA few cathedrals chronically on show,Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases,And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?
  24. 24. Or, after dark, will dubious women comeTo make their children touch a particular stone;Pick simples for a cancer; or on someAdvised night see walking a dead one?Power of some sort or other will go onIn games, in riddles, seemingly at random;But superstition, like belief, must die,And what remains when disbelief has gone?Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,
  25. 25. A shape less recognisable each week,A purpose more obscure. I wonder whoWill be the last, the very last, to seekThis place for what it was; [i] one of the crewThat tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?[ii] Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,[iii] Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiffOf gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?[iv] Or will he be my representative,
  26. 26. Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly siltDispersed, yet tending to this cross of groundThrough suburb scrub because it held unspiltSo long and equably what since is foundOnly in separation – marriage, and birth,And death, and thoughts of these – for which was builtThis special shell? For, though I’ve no ideaWhat this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,It pleases me to stand in silence here;
  27. 27. A serious house on serious earth it is,In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,Are recognised, and robed as destinies.And that much never can be obsolete,Since someone will forever be surprisingA hunger in himself to be more serious,And gravitating with it to this ground,Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wisein,If only that so many dead lie round.
  28. 28. Church GoingOnce I am sure there’s nothing going on (a)I step inside, letting the door thud shut. (b)Another church: matting, seats, and stone, (a)And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut (b)For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff (c)Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; (d)And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, (e)Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off (c)My cycle-clips in awkward reverence (e)
  29. 29. The Whitsun WeddingsThat Whitsun, I was late getting away:Not till aboutOne-twenty on the sunlit SaturdayDid my three-quarters-empty train pull out,All windows down, all cushions hot, all senseOf being in a hurry gone. We ranBehind the backs of houses, crossed a streetOf blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thenceThe river’s level drifting breadth began,Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.
  30. 30. All afternoon, through the tall heat that sleptFor miles inland,A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, andCanals with floatings of industrial froth;A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dippedAnd rose: and now and then a smell of grassDisplaced the reek of buttoned carriage-clothUntil the next town, new and nondescript,Approached with acres of dismantled cars.
  31. 31. At first, I didn’t notice what a noiseThe weddings madeEach station that we stopped at: sun destroysThe interest of what’s happening in the shade,And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirlsI took for porters larking with the mails,And went on reading. Once we started, though,We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girlsIn parodies of fashion, heels and veils,All posed irresolutely, watching us go,
  32. 32. As if out on the end of an eventWaving goodbyeTo something that survived it. Struck, I leantMore promptly out next time, more curiously,And saw it all again in different terms:The fathers with broad belts under their suitsAnd seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,The nylon gloves and jewelry-substitutes,The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres that
  33. 33. Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.Yes, from cafésAnd banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressedCoach-party annexes, the wedding-daysWere coming to an end. All down the lineFresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;The last confetti and advice were thrown,And, as we moved, each face seemed to defineJust what it saw departing: children frownedAt something dull; fathers had never known
  34. 34. Success so huge and wholly farcical;The women sharedThe secret like a happy funeral;While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, staredAt a religious wounding. Free at last,And loaded with the sum of all they saw,We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.Now fields were building-plots, and poplars castLong shadows over major roads, and forSome fifty minutes, that in time would seem
  35. 35. Just long enough to settle hats and sayI nearly died,A dozen marriages got under way.They watched the landscape, sitting side by side– An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,And someone running up to bowl – and noneThought of the others they would never meetOr how their lives would all contain this hour.I thought of London spread out in the sun,Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:
  36. 36. There we were aimed. And as we raced acrossBright knots of railPast standing Pullmans, walls of blackened mossCame close, and it was nearly done, this frailTravelling coincidence; and what it heldStood ready to be loosed with all the powerThat being changed can give. We slowed again,And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelledA sense of falling, like an arrow-showerSent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.
  37. 37. The Whitsun WeddingsThat Whitsun, I was late getting away:Not till aboutOne-twenty on the sunlit SaturdayDid my three-quarters-empty train pull out,All windows down, all cushions hot, all senseOf being in a hurry gone. We ranBehind the backs of houses, crossed a streetOf blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thenceThe river’s level drifting breadth began,Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.
  38. 38. All afternoon, through the tall heat that sleptFor miles inland,A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, andCanals with floatings of industrial froth;A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dippedAnd rose: and now and then a smell of grassDisplaced the reek of buttoned carriage-clothUntil the next town, new and nondescript,Approached with acres of dismantled cars.
  39. 39. At first, I didn’t notice what a noiseThe weddings madeEach station that we stopped at: sun destroysThe interest of what’s happening in the shade,And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirlsI took for porters larking with the mails,And went on reading. Once we started, though,We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girlsIn parodies of fashion, heels and veils,All posed irresolutely, watching us go,
  40. 40. As if out on the end of an eventWaving goodbyeTo something that survived it. Struck, I leantMore promptly out next time, more curiously,And saw it all again in different terms:The fathers with broad belts under their suitsAnd seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,The nylon gloves and jewelry-substitutes,The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres that
  41. 41. Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.Yes, from cafésAnd banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressedCoach-party annexes, the wedding-daysWere coming to an end. All down the lineFresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;The last confetti and advice were thrown,And, as we moved, each face seemed to defineJust what it saw departing: children frownedAt something dull; fathers had never known
  42. 42. Success so huge and wholly farcical;The women sharedThe secret like a happy funeral;While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, staredAt a religious wounding. Free at last,And loaded with the sum of all they saw,We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.Now fields were building-plots, and poplars castLong shadows over major roads, and forSome fifty minutes, that in time would seem
  43. 43. Just long enough to settle hats and sayI nearly died,A dozen marriages got under way.They watched the landscape, sitting side by side– An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,And someone running up to bowl – and noneThought of the others they would never meetOr how their lives would all contain this hour.I thought of London spread out in the sun,Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:
  44. 44. There we were aimed. And as we raced acrossBright knots of railPast standing Pullmans, walls of blackened mossCame close, and it was nearly done, this frailTravelling coincidence; and what it heldStood ready to be loosed with all the powerThat being changed can give. We slowed again,And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelledA sense of falling, like an arrow-showerSent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.
  45. 45. Talking in BedTalking in bed ought to be easiest,Lying together there goes back so far,An emblem of two people being honest.Yet more and more time passes silently.Outside, the wind’s incomplete unrestBuilds and disperses clouds about the sky,
  46. 46. And dark towns heap up on the horizon.None of this cares for us. Nothing shows whyAt this unique distance from isolationIt becomes still more difficult to findWords at once true and kind,Or not untrue and not unkind.
  47. 47. Talking in BedTalking in bed ought to be easiest,Lying together there goes back so far,An emblem of two people being honest.Yet more and more time passes silently.Outside, the wind’s incomplete unrestBuilds and disperses clouds about the sky,
  48. 48. And dark towns heap up on the horizon.None of this cares for us. Nothing shows whyAt this unique distance from isolationIt becomes still more difficult to findWords at once true and kind,Or not untrue and not unkind.
  49. 49. Talking in bed ought to be easiest, (a)Lying together there goes back so far, (b)An emblem of two people being honest. (a)Yet more and more time passes silently. (c)Outside, the wind’s incomplete unrest (a)Builds and disperses clouds about the sky, (c)And dark towns heap up on the horizon. (d)None of this cares for us. Nothing shows why (c)At this unique distance from isolation (d)It becomes still more difficult to find (e)Words at once true and kind, (e)Or not untrue and not unkind. (e)
  50. 50. Movement of poem:Inner  outer  innerOppositions:Talking / silence;Inside / outside;Public world / personal world.
  51. 51. Sad StepsGroping back to bed after a pissI part thick curtains, and am startled byThe rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness.Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lieUnder a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.There’s something laughable about this,
  52. 52. The way the moon dashes through clouds that blowLoosely 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,
  53. 53. One shivers slightly, looking up there.The hardness and the brightness and the plainFar-reaching singleness of that wide stareIs a reminder of the strength and painOf being young; that it can’t come again,But is for others undiminished somewhere.
  54. 54. Sad StepsGroping back to bed after a pissI part thick curtains, and am startled byThe rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness.Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lieUnder a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.There’s something laughable about this,
  55. 55. The way the moon dashes through clouds that blowLoosely 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,
  56. 56. One shivers slightly, looking up there.The hardness and the brightness and the plainFar-reaching singleness of that wide stareIs a reminder of the strength and painOf being young; that it can’t come again,But is for others undiminished somewhere.
  57. 57. Sad StepsGroping back to bed after a piss (a)I part thick curtains, and am startled by (b)The rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness. (a)Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie (b)Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky. (b)There’s something laughable about this, (a)
  58. 58. The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow (c)Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart (d)(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below) (c)High and preposterous and separate – (d)Lozenge of love! Medallion of art! (d)O wolves of memory! Immensements! No, (c)
  59. 59. One shivers slightly, looking up there. (e)The hardness and the brightness and the plain (f)Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare (e)Is a reminder of the strength and pain (f)Of being young; that it can’t come again, (f)But is for others undiminished somewhere. (e)
  60. 60. Sad StepsGroping back to bed after a piss (a)I part thick curtains, and am startled by (b)The rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness. (a)Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie (b)Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky. (b)There’s something laughable about this, (a)
  61. 61. Groping back to bed after a pissI part thick curtains, and am startled byThe rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness.Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lieUnder a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.There’s something laughable about this,The way the moon dashes through clouds that blowLoosely 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 plainFar-reaching singleness of that wide stareIs a reminder of the strength and painOf being young; that it can’t come again,But is for others undiminished somewhere.123
  62. 62. Movement of poem:• 1: description• 2: wonderment• 3: disillusionmentAlso:• 1: speaker (descriptive)• 2: moon (external world)• 3: speaker (sombre / contemplative)
  63. 63. Intertextual referenceSir Philip Sidney(1554-1586)“Astrophel andStella”(c. 1582)
  64. 64. With how sad steps, Oh Moon, thou c1imb’st the skies,How silently, and with how wan a face!What, may it be that even in heav’nly placeThat busy archer his sharp arrows tries?Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyesCan judge of love, thou feel’st a lover’s case;I read it in thy looks: thy languished grace,To me that feel the like, thy state descries.Then even of fellowship, Oh Moon, tell me,Is constant love deemed there but want of wit?Are beauties there as proud as here they be?Do they above love to be loved, and yetThose lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?
  65. 65. AubadeI work all day, and get half-drunk at night.Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.In time the curtain-edges will grow light.Till then I see what’s really always there:Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,Making all thought impossible but howAnd where and when I shall myself die.Arid interrogation: yet the dreadOf dying, and being dead,Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
  66. 66. The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse– The good not done, the love not given, timeTorn off unused – nor wretchedly becauseAn only life can take so long to climbClear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;But at the total emptiness for ever,The sure extinction that we travel toAnd shall be lost in always. Not to be here,Not to be anywhere,And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.
  67. 67. This is a special way of being afraidNo trick dispels. Religion used to try,That vast, moth-eaten musical brocadeCreated to pretend we never die,And specious stuff that says No rational beingCan fear a thing it will not feel, not seeingThat this is what we fear – no sight, no sound,No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,Nothing to love or link with,The anaesthetic from which none come round.
  68. 68. And so it stays just on the edge of vision,A small, unfocused blur, a standing chillThat slows each impulse down to indecision.Most things may never happen: this one will,And realisation of it rages outIn furnace-fear when we are caught withoutPeople or drink. Courage is no good:It means not scaring others. Being braveLets no one off the grave.Death is no different whined at than withstood.
  69. 69. Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,Have always known, know that we can’t escape,Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ringIn locked-up offices, and all the uncaringIntricate rented world begins to rouse.The sky is white as clay, with no sun.Work has to be done.Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

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