This be the verse

Funny how you can go a a few days without thinking of poetry, caught up in the day to day working, and today two things made me think of poetry again. I was talking about children with someone, how they inherit all that’s best, and worst in their parents, how we see ourselves turning into our parents and I thought of Philip Larkin’s poem about parents which I was introduced to in Ireland last year by a fan called Sean Hardie. It goes:

This Be The Verse

by Philip 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.

Then, later in the day a swallow flitting around its nest; a beautiful flash of blue, impossible to see in its quick movement that reminded me of the swallows at the edge of the lake in Annakhmakerrig and got me thinking about writing again.

Philip Larkin from the Academy of American Poets

The Philip Larkin Society


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