Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Larkin on a Sunday

After looking for a complete volume of Philip Larkin’s poetry, I found one at our bookstore on Sunday, and bought it hurriedly. It was the kind of day for poetry, so bright you feel the sun radiating from the leaves and the ground rather than the sky. Looking at the spine, I saw that pages were turned down precisely in two places.

It was clear that it wasn’t an accident, or sloppy book handling, but must have been meaningful to the previous owner of the book. It must say something about that person, and oddly enough, I feel that at this juncture, I think it says something about me. A communion with a person, just because of a page turned down. Here is the poem:

Places, Loved Ones

No, I have never found
The place where I could say
This is my proper ground,
Here I shall stay;
Nor met that special one
Who has an instant claim
On everything I own
Down to my name;

To find such seems to prove
You want no choice in where
To build, or whom to love;
You ask them to bear
You off irrevocably,
So that it’s not your fault
Should the town turn dreary,
The girl a dolt.

Yet, having missed them, you’re
Bound, none the less, to act
As if what you settled for
Mashed you, in fact;
And wiser to keep away
From thinking you still might trace
Uncalled-for to this day
Your person, your place.

1 comment:

Ian Woolcott said...

Larkin is marvelous.