We haven't had one in a while, and I happened upon this in an anthology at a friend's house a few days ago. 'Fate' once again giving a little prod.
Larkin always seems to strike deep chords within me. And I hold him significantly - if indirectly - responsible for the curiously meandering path my life has taken. Particularly avid readers may also recall the last time I mentioned him on here...
I believe a leading literary critic once described Larkin as "a gloomy bugger" - and I suppose that summation fits me rather too aptly as well.
Love Songs In Old Age
She kept her songs, they took so little space,
The covers pleased her:
One bleached from lying in a sunny place,
One marked in circles by a vase of water,
One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her,
And coloured, by her daughter -
So they had waited, till, in widowhood,
She found them, looking for something else, and stood
Relearning how each frank submissive chord
Had ushered in
Word after sprawling hyphenated word,
And the unfailing sense of being young
Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein
That hidden freshness sung,
That certainty of time laid up in store
As when she played them first. But, even more,
The glare of that much-mentioned brilliance, love,
Broke out, to show
Its bright incipience sailing above,
Still promising to solve, and satisfy,
And set unchangeably in order. So
To pile them back, to cry,
Was hard, without lamely admitting how
It had not done so then, and could not now.
Philip Larkin (1922-1985)