Posts Tagged ‘Philip Larkin’

Love and Poetry

Monday, December 13th, 2010

by James Papp

The first time I heard Philip Larkin’s “They fuck you up, your mum and dad” recited to me from memory and in its entirety was on a Valentine’s Day date with Sarah in 1992. In fact we recited it in unison, and though I don’t know who started it, I knew it boded ill, spiting my lavish expenditure on long-stemmed roses and the usual trappings of romance.

Thirteen years later I heard it being recited over the telephone to me by a girl I fancied; I fancied Constance the more because she knew poems by heart; and I wrote two poems to her, the first of which provoked her interest while the second merely provoked her, and she refused to read it. Which is a pity, as it was the best of the love poems I had written till then, or at any rate the least bad, and the only poems I write are love poems, poetry by heart.
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