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More on “Days” by Larkin

May 13, 2013

From Letters to Monica

Last month comparison with Amis (click here), yesterday two French versions (click here), today Larkin’s own self-deprecating comments. Days deserves them all.

5 August 1953

[…] I’ve written a tiny little poem since returning, hardly a poem at all:

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

And to seek where they join*
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

(*Line later revised to: Ah, solving that question)

Don’t take it seriously, but it’s a change from the old style.

Wednesday I shouldn’t think there’s much danger of yr taking it seriously having just re-read it, but I can’t rub it out. […]

21 November 1971

Did I tell you about my discovery in Larkin studies? I was rereading The Wind in the Willows, & found within a few pages of each other ‘long coats’ and ‘running’ and ‘over the fields’. Isn’t that odd? It’s where Toad crashes the car and is chased. I’m sure I got the words from there – hiding places thirty years deep, at least. But perhaps I’ve told you before – perhaps I’ve realised it before. Brain going. Pox got. […]

He’s referring to chapter 10 of TWITW by Kenneth Grahame, The Further Adventure of Toad. Monica had given him an expensive illustrated edition for Christmas 1950, but he had loved the book as a child, as his letter to her (28 December 1950) makes clear.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sue permalink
    May 13, 2013 9:10 am

    good idea, that revision 🙂

  2. May 13, 2013 8:24 pm

    Yes indeed. I wonder if Monica suggested it. 🙂

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