Sunday, March 7, 2010

Talking In Bed - P. Larkin

Of the three best known "names" - Stephen Spender, W.H.Auden, and Philip Larkin - in English poetry of the 20th Century (which really only ended 10 years ago), Larkin edges out Spender by a hair as my favorite, and this one is the main reason why.  I first read it before experience and dimly appreciated it.  After experience....  well, it's as perfect and true as a poem can get.
Talking 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 about 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. 

Philip Larkin  - English

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