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Yes, This is a Post About Poetry. Sod off.

08.10.07 | Posted by Hedgehog


When all of our friends were discovering Bukowski and telling us how great his shit was, we secretly knew that Philip Larkin was twelve times the poet Chuck could ever be.

And we grew into Larkin’s work the same way we grew into women; his shockingly humorous (or humorously shocking, whatever) stuff wore from our adolescent focus along with our attraction to brainless hourglass figures with no talent. Then there was the Larkin that one needed life experience to understand – like knowing that a blowjob is actually more about the hand than it is the mouth.

And all the time we were (and still are really) scared that he might have been right about everything. But it’s a good scared because, even if his words ring true to our aging, we’ll have him along to keep us company.

Yesterday was Philip Larkin’s birthday. His last book was published the year we were born which blows our mind because the words still seem crisp. Below, two of our favorites. (Also, if your date/boyfriend says this is his favorite poet, be very scared.)

Why Did I Dream of You Last Night?

Why did I dream of you last night?
Now morning is pushing back hair with grey light
Memories strike home, like slaps in the face;
Raised on elbow, I stare at the pale fog
beyond the window.

So many things I had thought forgotten
Return to my mind with stranger pain:
- Like letters that arrive addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago.

Next Please

Always too eager for the future, we
Pick up bad habits of expectancy.
Something is always approaching; every day
Till then we say,

Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear
Sparkling armada of promises draw near.
How slow they are! And how much time they waste,
Refusing to make haste!

Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks
Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks
Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked,
Each rope distinct,

Flagged, and the figurehead with golden tits
Arching our way, it never anchors; it’s
No sooner present than it turns to past.
Right to the last

We think each one will heave to and unload
All good into our lives, all we are owed
For waiting so devoutly and so ling.
But we are wrong:

Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break.

Cartoon from themanwhofellasleep.com.

08.10.07 | Comment | Posted by Hedgehog


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