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"Next, Please"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Next, Please
by Philip Larkin


Always too eager for the future, we
Pick up bad habits of expectancy.
Something is always approaching; every day
Till then we say,

Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear
Sparkling armada of promises draw near.
How slow they are! And how much time they waste,
Refusing to make haste!

Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks
Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks
Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked,
Each rope distinct,

Flagged, and the figurehead wit golden tits
Arching our way, it never anchors; it's
No sooner present than it turns to past.
Right to the last

We think each one will heave to and unload
All good into our lives, all we are owed
For waiting so devoutly and so long.
But we are wrong:

Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break.

*****************
Philip Larkin is amongst my favourite poets. He really nailed the 20th century. Which is good for me because I dwell in the 19th evidently. I am sorry that more people do not enjoy poetry. It's such a wonderful form of great literature.

Dec. 15th: I'm feeling a big down and laid low; a cold is part of the reason. I'm depressed about work. They just announced a pay decrease.

Dec. 16th: Feeling a bit better today!
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