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Poetry > Two poems by Philip Larkin

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message 1: by Phil (new)

Phil (Lanark) Larkin is one of my favourite post war British poets. Here are two poems, both of which are deceptively simple, but contain real profundities about the way we live, how we pass on guilt and neuroses and hang ups from one generation to another: "Annus Mirabilis" and "This Be The Verse".

1. Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.


2. This Be The Verse

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.

message 2: by Omneya (new)

Omneya Deen | 11 comments as for the second poem , i totally agree with the subject , parents DO pass their mistakes , worries and even dreams to us ..but , we still can make our own decisions ...and change whatever they did with our characters ...and still , this will never make anyone "slaughter " his/ her dream to be a parent ....

message 3: by Parvathi (new)

Parvathi I have read his poems like "Next, Please", "Whitsun Weddings" and "Ambulances". But they were of a different kind. The second one looks funny when one considers the fact that he never got married. But I can't understand the inner meaning of "Annus Mirabilis". HELP ME!!!

message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (Doulton) I think he might be jokingly referring to the fact that with the diminishment of censorship and the rise of the "me" generation, there was a 1960's sense that this was the first generation who had "discovered" sex and enjoyed it.

I believe that the poem is a satire.

message 5: by Pramod (new)

Pramod Pant | 6 comments Post war, Britain was, basically, a newly buried Nation. A bit of stuff here and there, taking cues from the its glorious past, was around. But,that was it. If those of them with intellectual pretensions took recourse to intercourse, it was fundamentally that only - an attempt at intercourse. Child Larkin, too, also did not have much else to say, it seems. Alas.

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