Skip to content
Advertisements

Coming

January 2, 2013

A single shot at emotion, hit or miss

Spring was the other poem, of the six, that Monica really liked (click here). But I, and Larkin, prefer this one.

In 1964, in Further Requirements, Larkin wrote perhaps the finest explanation ever, of this particular poetic technique – the master describing his masterpiece:

The most difficult kind of poem to write is the expression of a sharp uncomplicated experience, the vivid emotion you can’t wind yourself into slowly but have to take a single shot at, hit or miss. Some fifteen years ago in February, I heard a bird singing in some garden when I was walking home from work: after tea I tried to describe it, and after supper revised what I had written. That was the poem, and I must say I have always found it successful. It is called ‘Coming’ — what is coming, I suppose, is Spring.

This, despite the forgotten boredom, is the uncynical Larkin baring his feelings. Amis would have harrumphed, but the rest of us know exactly what he’s talking about.

Coming

On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
Laurel-surrounded
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon —
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.

Philip Larkin

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: