Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Friday, 26 June 2015


                       Philip Larkin
                          1922 -1985

Share with me, if you will, delight at the news that English writer, Philip Larkin, is to be honoured with a memorial stone at Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
Thirty years after his death, Larkin’s name will join a host of other famous poets, playwrights and writers commemorated there.
Philip Larkin's poetry has his detractors but I am not among them: on the contrary, I regard him as one the finest poets of the late Twentieth Century.
He is arguably the most quoted.
In selecting a Larkin poem, I was faced with a challenge because I admire so many of them. 

Here's an old favourite.

Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;
And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day;
And the countryside not caring:
The place-names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheat’s restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;
Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word—the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

Hear Philip Larkin read Arundel Tomb here:

You’ll find other Philip Larkin poems here:

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