Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Day 810: The Life with a Hole in it

I don't post much of Philip Larkin because to put it bluntly (because he certainly does) -  he's a pessimistic git.  But a great poet nonetheless. 

Although bleak - stamped as it is with a heavy dose of Larkin's characteristic cynical realism - this poem challenges you to think what it really is you want to be doing with your life, and to do it, before time slips by and make's a miserable old git of you too. It is almost, I think, an invitation to rail readers into defying it, rebelling against it.


The Life With a Hole in It - Philip Larkin

When I throw back my head and howl
People (women mostly) say
But you've always done what you want,
You always get your own way

- A perfectly vile and foul
Inversion of all that's been.
What the old ratbags mean
Is I've never done what I don't.

So the shit in the shuttered chateau
Who does his five hundred words
Then parts out the rest of the day
Between bathing and booze and birds
Is far off as ever, but so
Is that spectacled schoolteaching sod
(Six kids, and the wife in pod,
And her parents coming to stay) . . .

Life is an immobile, locked,
Three-handed struggle between
Your wants, the world's for you, and (worse)
The unbeatable slow machine
That brings what you'll get. Blocked,
They strain round a hollow stasis
Of havings-to, fear, faces.
Days sift down it constantly. Years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think! To leave a comment - comment as/sign in with your Google ID if you have one, or website or blog address, or if these don't apply, sign in as Anonymous, and leave your name if you like!