Philip Larkin, full of the joys of Spring? Nige thinks so…
A while ago, over on the excellent First Known When Lost, Steve Pentz quoted Solar as a demonstration that Philip Larkin was not ‘the dour personage of caricature’. Indeed not, though he could adopt the dour persona with wonderful conviction. Solar sent me back to High Windows – I opened it at this well known short poem, which I pass on simply because it is so beautifully made and, as it happens, so perfectly fits the season. It seems also, I suppose, almost hopeful…
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.