quote

Philip Larkin > Quotes > Quotable Quote

Philip Larkin

“When I was a child, I thought,
Casually, that solitude
Never needed to be sought.
Something everybody had,
Like nakedness, it lay at hand,
Not specially right or specially wrong,
A plentiful and obvious thing
Not at all hard to understand.

Then, after twenty, it became
At once more difficult to get
And more desired -- though all the same
More undesirable; for what
You are alone has, to achieve
The rank of fact, to be expressed
In terms of others, or it's just
A compensating make-believe.

Much better stay in company!
To love you must have someone else,
Giving requires a legatee,
Good neighbours need whole parishfuls
Of folk to do it on -- in short,
Our virtues are all social; if,
Deprived of solitude, you chafe,
It's clear you're not the virtuous sort.

Viciously, then, I lock my door.
The gas-fire breathes. The wind outside
Ushers in evening rain. Once more
Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am."

(Best Company)”


Philip Larkin, Collected Poems
Read more quotes from Philip Larkin


Share this quote:

Friends Who Liked This Quote


To see what your friends thought of this quote, please sign up!

All Quotes | My Quotes | Add A Quote

Play The 'Guess That Quote' Game

This Quote Is From

Collected Poems Collected Poems by Philip Larkin
5,467 ratings, average rating, 157 reviews


Browse By Tag

More...