Philip Larkin |
I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare.
Not in remorse
-- The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused -- nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always.
Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.
This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels.
Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear -- no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.
And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink.
Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others.
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape,
Yet can't accept.
One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.
William Shakespeare |
HARK! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With everything that pretty bin,
My lady sweet, arise!
William Shakespeare |
Tall as a crane,
The morning light creaks down again;
Comb your cockscomb-ragged hair,
Jane, Jane, come down the stair.
Each dull blunt wooden stalactite
Of rain creaks, hardened by the light,
Sounding like an overtone
From some lonely world unknown.
But the creaking empty light
Will never harden into sight,
Will never penetrate your brain
With overtones like the blunt rain.
The light would show (if it could harden)
Eternities of kitchen garden,
Cockscomb flowers that none will pluck,
And wooden flowers that 'gin to cluck.
In the kitchen you must light
Flames as staring, red and white,
As carrots or as turnips shining
Where the cold dawn light lies whining.
Cockscomb hair on the cold wind
Hangs limp, turns the milk's weak mind .
Tall as a crane,
The morning light creaks down again!
Amy Lowell |
As I would free the white almond from the green husk
So would I strip your trappings off,
And fingering the smooth and polished kernel
I should see that in my hands glittered a gem beyond counting.
Barry Tebb |
Dawn’s my Mr Right, already
Cocks have crowed, birds flown from nests,
The neon lights of Leeds last night still
Sovereign in my sights, limousines and
Pink baloons, tee shirts with green stencilled
Dates of wedding days to come, the worn dance floor,
Jingling arcades where chrome fendered fruit machines
Rest on plush carpets like the ghosts of fifties Chevies,
Dreams for sale on boulevards where forget-me-nots
Are flowing through the hyaline summer air.
I stood with you in Kings Cross on Thursday night
Waiting for a bus we saw the lighthouse on top
Of a triangle of empty shops and seedy bedsits,
Some relic of a nineteenth century’s eccentric’s dream come true.
But posing now the question "What to do with a listed building
And the Channel Tunnel coming through?" Its welded slats,
Timber frame and listing broken windows blew our minds-
Like discovering a Tintoretto in a gallery of fakes.
Leeds takes away the steely glare of Sutton
Weighing down on me like breeze-blocks by the ton,
When all I want to do is run away and make a home
In Keighley, catch a bus to Haworth and walk and walk
Till human talk is silenced by the sun.