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Philip Larkin Short Poems

Famous Short Philip Larkin Poems. Short poetry by famous poet Philip Larkin. A collection of the all-time best Philip Larkin short poems


by Philip Larkin
 A stationary sense.
.
.
as, I suppose, I shall have, till my single body grows Inaccurate, tired; Then I shall start to feel the backward pull Take over, sickening and masterful - Some say, desired.
And this must be the prime of life.
.
.
I blink, As if at pain; for it is pain, to think This pantomime Of compensating act and counter-act Defeat and counterfeit, makes up, in fact My ablest time.



by Philip Larkin
 The little lives of earth and form,
Of finding food, and keeping warm,
 Are not like ours, and yet
A kinship lingers nonetheless:
We hanker for the homeliness
 Of den, and hole, and set.
And this identity we feel - Perhaps not right, perhaps not real - Will link us constantly; I see the rock, the clay, the chalk, The flattened grass, the swaying stalk, And it is you I see.

by Philip Larkin
 Cut grass lies frail:
Brief is the breath
Mown stalks exhale.
Long, long the death It dies in the white hours Of young-leafed June With chestnut flowers, With hedges snowlike strewn, White lilac bowed, Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace, And that high-builded cloud Moving at summer's pace.

Wires  Create an image from this poem
by Philip Larkin
 The widest prairies have electric fences, 
For though old cattle know they must not stray 
Young steers are always scenting purer water 
Not here but anywhere.
Beyond the wires Leads them to blunder up against the wires Whose muscle-shredding violence gives no quarter.
Young steers become old cattle from that day, Electric limits to their widest senses.

by Philip Larkin
 New eyes each year
Find old books here,
And new books,too,
Old eyes renew;
So youth and age
Like ink and page
In this house join,
Minting new coin.

Wants  Create an image from this poem
by Philip Larkin
 Beyond all this, the wish to be alone:
However the sky grows dark with invitation-cards
However we follow the printed directions of sex
However the family is photographed under the flag-staff -
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone.
Beneath it all, the desire for oblivion runs: Despite the artful tensions of the calendar, The life insurance, the tabled fertility rites, The costly aversion of the eyes away from death - Beneath it all, the desire for oblivion runs.

by Philip Larkin
 Caught in the center of a soundless field
While hot inexplicable hours go by
What trap is this? Where were its teeth concealed?
You seem to ask.
I make a sharp reply, Then clean my stick.
I'm glad I can't explain Just in what jaws you were to suppurate: You may have thought things would come right again If you could only keep quite still and wait.



by Philip Larkin
 Beyond the dark cartoons 
Are darker spaces where 
Small cloudy nests of stars 
Seem to float on air.
These have no proper names: Men out alone at night Never look up at them For guidance or delight, For such evasive dust Can make so little clear: Much less is known than not, More far than near.

by Philip Larkin
 For nations vague as weed,
For nomads among stones,
Small-statured cross-faced tribes
And cobble-close families
In mill-towns on dark mornings
Life is slow dying.
So are their separate ways Of building, benediction, Measuring love and money Ways of slow dying.
The day spent hunting pig Or holding a garden-party, Hours giving evidence Or birth, advance On death equally slowly.
And saying so to some Means nothing; others it leaves Nothing to be said.

by Philip Larkin
 They say eyes clear with age, 
As dew clarifies air 
To sharpen evenings, 
As if time put an edge 
Round the last shape of things 
To show them there; 
The many-levelled trees, 
The long soft tides of grass 
Wrinkling away the gold 
Wind-ridden waves- all these, 
They say, come back to focus 
As we grow old.

by Philip Larkin
 Home is so sad.
It stays as it was left, Shaped in the comfort of the last to go As if to win them back.
Instead, bereft Of anyone to please, it withers so, Having no heart to put aside the theft.
And turn again to what it started as, A joyous shot at how things ought to be, Long fallen wide.
You can see how it was: Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool.
That vase.

by Philip Larkin
 Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro All they find, outside the fold, Is a wretched width of cold.
As they wait beside the ewe, Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies Hidden round them, waiting too, Earth's immeasureable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew, What so soon will wake and grow Utterly unlike the snow.

by Philip Larkin
 They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another's throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can, And don't have any kids yourself.

Water  Create an image from this poem
by Philip Larkin
 If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water.
Going to church Would entail a fording To dry, different clothes; My liturgy would employ Images of sousing, A furious devout drench, And I should raise in the east A glass of water Where any-angled light Would congregate endlessly.

by Philip Larkin
 The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed.
It had been in the long grass.
I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world Unmendably.
Burial was no help: Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence Is always the same; we should be careful Of each other, we should be kind While there is still time.

by Philip Larkin
 Thinking in terms of one
Is easily done—
One room, one bed, one chair,
One person there,
Makes perfect sense; one set
Of wishes can be met,
One coffin filled.
But counting up to two Is harder to do; For one must be denied Before it's tried.

Skin  Create an image from this poem
by Philip Larkin
 Obedient daily dress,
You cannot always keep
That unfakable young surface.
You must learn your lines - Anger, amusement, sleep; Those few forbidding signs Of the continuous coarse Sand-laden wind, time; You must thicken, work loose Into an old bag Carrying a soiled name.
Parch then; be roughened; sag; And pardon me, that I Could find, when you were new, No brash festivity To wear you at, such as Clothes are entitled to Till the fashion changes.

by Philip Larkin
 Since the majority of me 
Rejects the majority of you, 
Debating ends forwith, and we 
Divide.
And sure of what to do We disinfect new blocks of days For our majorities to rent With unshared friends and unwalked ways, But silence too is eloquent: A silence of minorities That, unopposed at last, return Each night with cancelled promises They want renewed.
They never learn.

Solar  Create an image from this poem
by Philip Larkin
 Suspended lion face
Spilling at the centre
Of an unfurnished sky
How still you stand,
And how unaided
Single stalkless flower
You pour unrecompensed.
The eye sees you Simplified by distance Into an origin, Your petalled head of flames Continuously exploding.
Heat is the echo of your Gold.
Coined there among Lonely horizontals You exist openly.
Our needs hourly Climb and return like angels.
Unclosing like a hand, You give for ever.

Going  Create an image from this poem
by Philip Larkin
 There is an evening coming in
Across the fields, one never seen before,
That lights no lamps.
Silken it seems at a distance, yet When it is drawn up over the knees and breast It brings no comfort.
Where has the tree gone, that locked Earth to sky? What is under my hands, That I cannot feel? What loads my hand down?

by Philip Larkin
 Words as plain as hen-birds' wings 
Do not lie, 
Do not over-broider things - 
Are too shy.
Thoughts that shuffle round like pence Through each reign, Wear down to their simplest sense Yet remain.
Weeds are not supposed to grow But by degrees Some achieve a flower, although No one sees.

by Philip Larkin
 This is the first thing
I have understood:
Time is the echo of an axe
Within a wood.

by Philip Larkin
 Is it for now or for always,
The world hangs on a stalk?
Is it a trick or a trysting-place,
The woods we have found to walk?

Is it a mirage or miracle,
Your lips that lift at mine:
And the suns like a juggler's juggling-balls,
Are they a sham or a sign?

Shine out, my sudden angel,
Break fear with breast and brow,
I take you now and for always,
For always is always now.

by Philip Larkin
 If hands could free you, heart,
 Where would you fly?
Far, beyond every part
Of earth this running sky
Makes desolate? Would you cross
City and hill and sea,
 If hands could set you free?

I would not lift the latch;
 For I could run
Through fields, pit-valleys, catch
All beauty under the sun--
Still end in loss:
I should find no bent arm, no bed
 To rest my head.

by Philip Larkin
 I have started to say
"A quarter of a century"
Or "thirty years back"
About my own life.
It makes me breathless It's like falling and recovering In huge gesturing loops Through an empty sky.
All that's left to happen Is some deaths (my own included).
Their order, and their manner, Remain to be learnt.


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