British poet and librarian Philip Larkin (1922-85) has appeared at this blog before, with a couple of references to what may be his best known poem, “This Be the Verse” (which I taught the Spawn many years ago.) He’s often described as a more recent version of Hardy, but I can see a fair amount of Housman in there, too. As I like both of those guys, I guess it isn’t surprising that I’m fond of Larkin’s work as well.
Once, when I was teaching a creative writing workshop on poetry, I had some students grousing about formal verse and how it sounded stilted. I read them Larkin’s “Aubade.” Seemed to do the trick. It also occurred to me this morning that another of his poems provided the title for a Batman graphic novel.
So here’s another one from him, and it’s another one I value highly.
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 unrest
Builds and disperses clouds in the sky,
And dark towns heap up on the horizon.
None of this cares for us. Nothing shows why
At this unique distance from isolation
It becomes still more difficult to find
Words at once true and kind,
Or not untrue and not unkind.