Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday extracts. Philip Larkin on parenthood. (PG rated for language)

On Monday I posted a photo of a Philip Larkin poem that's engraved on the wall of the Library in Belper. When I read that Larkin was included in the town's poetry trail my immediate thought was that they were unlikely to have used the one piece of Larkin's work that I can quote by heart.

This poem strikes a real chord with me and, as someone said a few days ago, it has "set the pattern for" my life.

Don't say you weren't warned about the rude word.


This Be The Verse
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. 

Philip Larkin


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. there's a few bits and bobs re ghost signs etc on my recent post ..

He's right isn't he though .. do you think as the generations shovel more in at the top some get pushed out at the bottom?! Could do with some space for some new goodies .. inadvertently I complied with his last sentence!

Great fun?! - cheers Hilary

Jarmara Falconer said...

I loved it... I shall give a copy to my son. Love the last line.

anthonynorth said...

Rather bleak, though, isn't it?

Jim said...

'Tis my favourite bit of Larkin, but I prefer Betjeman ツ