Friday, 28 November 2008

Larkin's sadness

Larkin's 'Money' ends:

I listen to money singing. It's like looking down
From long French windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.

It Is Intensely Sad would be a pretty good title for a study of Larkin's verse.

But wait a minute Phil: you don't actually mean 'it is intensely sad'. You mean 'I am intensely sad.' That's really not the same thing, you know, Phil. That's really not that same thing at all. Don't you see the difference? The street, the church, the whole provincial town is doing just fine, thank you, and has no responsibility for you mournfulness, standing at the French windows there. Ah, but that's you and your poetry in a nutshell, Phil, isn't it.

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