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An April Sunday brings the snow

January 10, 2013

To the other Pop Larkin

The quality of the stuff Larkin left unpublished is incredible. This was occasioned by his father’s death in 1948. Sydney Larkin was a fascist-loving bureaucrat who bullied his wife. But his jam-making gave his son this wonderful metaphor for what we lose in death – sweet and meaningless and not to come again.

An April Sunday brings the snow
Making the blossom on the plum trees green,
Not white. An hour or two, and it will go.
Strange that I spend that hour moving between

Cupboard and cupboard, shifting the store
Of jam you made of fruit from these same trees:
Five loads – a hundred pounds or more -
More than enough for all next summer’s teas.

Which now you will not sit and eat.
Behind the glass, underneath the cellophane,
remains your final summer – sweet
And meaningless, and not to come again.

Philip Larkin

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