16.2.05 | The Future



What do you think about when you imagine the future?

Space travel? Virtual reailty ports in your cranium? Alien invasion perhaps? The Earth being a vast dustbowl like Mars?

I dream and think about all of those things and more. But most of all i think about my parents.

Their diminishing before my eyes. Physical and psychological. Realizing that you can't stop the Haemorrhage of days.

And i think about frustration. And waiting. And escape.

But iI love my old ones. It would be faithless of me to forsake them.

And with love in mind i quote this:

The Old Fools

What do they think has happened, the old fools,
To make them like this? Do they somehow suppose
It's more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools,
And you keep on pissing yourself, and can't remember
Who called this morning? Or that, if they only chose,
They could alter things back to when they danced all night,
Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September?
Or do they fancy there's really been no change,
And they've always behaved as if they were crippled or tight,
Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming
Watching the light move? If they don't (and they can't), it's strange;
Why aren't they screaming?

At death you break up: the bits that were you
Start speeding away from each other for ever
With no one to see. It's only oblivion, true:
We had it before, but then it was going to end,
And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour
To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower
Of being here. Next time you can't pretend
There'll be anything else. And these are the first signs:
Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power
Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they're for it:
Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines -
How can they ignore it?

Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside you head, and people in them, acting
People you know, yet can't quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,
Setting down a lamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun's
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give

An air of baffled absence, trying to be there
Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving
Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear
Of taken breath, and them crouching below
Extinction's alp, the old fools, never perceiving
How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet:
The peak that stays in view wherever we go
For them is rising ground. Can they never tell
What is dragging them back, and how it will end? Not at night?
Not when the strangers come? Never, throughout
The whole hideous inverted childhood? Well,
We shall find out.

-Philip Larkin


9 comments :.

  6:07 pm :. Blogger Dani hollered thusly:

Wow. This post was so beautiful. I can't tell you how much I can relate to this. Or maybe I can, if it's alright for me to email you?


  10:55 pm :. Blogger Starbuck hollered thusly:

Upon starting reading I was gearing up to start banging on about timetravel and the future, but you've brought me right back down to earth.

That was wonderful. So true, so beautiful.


  10:59 pm :. Blogger my sun sets to rise again hollered thusly:

Ugh. Thats horrible.

Sorry, I have a morbid fear, not of growing old, but of the decay that goes with it.


the Haemorrhage of days.

Yes. That's it. Perfectly.


  3:02 am :. Blogger Michael Moore hollered thusly:

I had a really strange dream about that post last night. And its very strange watching my parents age.

Creepy.


  1:59 am :. Blogger The Saturnyne hollered thusly:

Sure, Dani. go ahead. It'll be my pleasure.

Glad i can get someone else's onto Larkin. He didn't write as much as cummings or Frost f'r'example. But what he says is unflinchingly accurate, remorseless and beautiful in it's introspection.

Heya Michael, didn't you wander over here from Cece's? I was gonna add some feeble joke about how much better you're looking since you lost weight after that last docu-movie, but you've heard it about a million times before, by now. =}

Hmm... speaking of dreams...


  2:00 am :. Blogger The Saturnyne hollered thusly:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


  9:18 pm :. Blogger Woman at the well hollered thusly:

Oh, Sat!
Living is a miracle in itself. Being old is not glamorous or attractive, but it´s not bad if you´re healthy and still have plans for the future. That´s it - the future. Why not? How can anyone be sure he´s gpoing to live longer than anybody else, i mean, how can a young person be sure he´s going to survive his grandfather?You just gotta get old to to make sure you have lived, it´s as simp´le as that.
Being old is unattractive and ugly, but everybody wants it. Don´t be sorry for your folks, they´re enjoying every minute. they´re proud of their age, because they know they have made it.
Anyway, there must be a great difference between being old in the poet´s country and in my country.


  7:45 pm :. Blogger Janey hollered thusly:

Watching my parents I think that old people move onto another plane of existence that involves obsessive gardening and spying on neighbours. I also find that if anyone hurts or upset them I want to kill them, even though it's often their own fault for excessive grumpiness! It's a role reversal thing - I've become the parent.


  2:43 pm :. Blogger Brooks Lampe hollered thusly:

I love Larkin!



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