Sunday, October 10, 2010

Poem of the Week: "Afternoons," by Philip Larkin

In continuing the theme of autumn/domestic discontent that was set up in last week's poem by James Wright, I give you this Philip Larkin poem that feels quite familiar to "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio." It's not a happy poem, which is a given since Larkin isn't a particularly happy poet. But I think it paints a very vivid set of images that leave a lasting impression of disillusionment.

Afternoons, by Philip Larkin

Summer is fading:
The leaves fall in ones and twos
From trees bordering
The new recreation ground.
In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children.

Behind them, at intervals,
Stand husbands in skilled trades,
An estateful of washing,
And the albums, lettered
Our Wedding, lying
Near the television:
Before them, the wind
Is ruining their courting-places

That are still courting-places
(But the lovers are all in school),
And their children, so intent on
Finding more unripe acrons,
Expect to be taken home.
Their beauty has thickened.
Something is pushing them
To the side of their own lives.

1 comment: