Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A week of readings for a year's end: Despair

Phillip Larkin (1922-1985) graduated Oxford University, where he, Kingsley Amis and others formed a group they called "The Seven," meeting to discuss each other's poetry, listen to jazz, and drink enthusiastically. "This Be the Verse" originally appeared in his 1974 book High Windows, and Larkin once said he wished to hear the poem recited by a thousand British girl scouts in his honor before he died. Photo by Fay Godwin.

"This Be The Verse"

Phillip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn

By fools in old-style hats and coats,

Who half the time were soppy-stern

And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

And don't have any kids yourself.

No comments: