29.8.06 | For My Parents

who's inverted childhood i watch and for whom i count the chimes of distant clocks.

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


  5:37 am :. Blogger Keshi hollered thusly:

I so dont wanna be old..I mean my heart :)


  7:28 am :. Blogger LiVEwiRe hollered thusly:

Oh man, I just had to read this before bed...

  2:37 pm :. Blogger The Saturnyne hollered thusly:

Um sorry if that ruined your days or nights, guys. My old ones have been on my mind a lot recently.

*comforting hugs*


  8:14 pm :. Blogger Starbuck hollered thusly:

Hi Sat, comforting hugs back at you.

That poem really describes it well, unfortunately, in my case my Gran. And as it says, all of us eventually.

Take care.

  11:04 pm :. Blogger Carl hollered thusly:

That Philip Larkin, he's a right laugh isn't he ? I bet he got lots of party invites.

  12:41 am :. Blogger my sun sets to rise again hollered thusly:

It's one of the unchangeable rules of my life that I would kill myself before I got there.

To not be me is unacceptable.

  12:11 am :. Blogger Carl hollered thusly:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12:13 am :. Blogger Carl hollered thusly:

I agree with "my sun sets to rise again"...

...if anyone catches me posting Larkin poetry shoot me dead ;)

(editted because I can't spell)

  2:48 pm :. Blogger De.vile hollered thusly:

Its OK, sometimes we all see the change and get affected. *Hugs* They'll be OK.

  4:42 am :. Blogger {illyria} hollered thusly:

this resonates with me more than you'll ever know. you eloquent rat bastard you. i'm gonna boohoo myself right about now. with a cup of fruit yoghurt.

~the girl FKA transience

  3:59 pm :. Blogger Spitting Blood hollered thusly:

*hugs* from an absent friend.

As always a fantastic choice of poem

  5:53 am :. Blogger dr.v (Not a narcotic Pez dispenser) hollered thusly:

i love that Larkin :)

  11:48 am :. Blogger Woman at the well hollered thusly:

Firs of all, I must say the poem is beautiful...
But,(there´s aways a "but"), we´re not any beter than anything else, my dear boy. The planet itself is beginning to die! It may be a consolation I found in the midst of my despair, but I really feel like that. I always envied the eternal greatness of the mountains, and now, to my surprise, they´re also doomed to come to an end ... Our planet is going to die, too! Who´s going to be sorry for it?

  2:37 pm :. Blogger antonym hollered thusly:

Larkin was still sadly with it when he died though, so never found out. Personally I want my mind to disintegrate to the point when I'm an embarrassment to everyone and anyone; the only way to die without worry.

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