Print Story Poem of the Day: "Aubade" by Philip Larkin
Diary
By Beechwood 45789 (Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:19:16 AM EST) (all tags)
"This is a special way of being afraid."


Aubade
by 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 used, 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 forever,
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 cannot 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. Being brave
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.

< Ask Husi: Remote Desktop for Parentals | A Day in the Life >
Poem of the Day: "Aubade" by Philip Larkin | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
That, to borrow a phrase by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:16:54 AM EST
Was friggin' intense.

Thanks for posting it.


You are welcome. by Beechwood 45789 (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:35:51 AM EST
I know it is cold comfort.

When I was worried about my health, all the cheer-up, stay strong, insights into the next world (or lack there of) didn't do anything but underscore the distance between me and the people talking.

It was good to have somebody who simply said, "Yeah. I know what you're saying."

[ Parent ]
Yeah by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:44:13 AM EST
I think you really have to actually stare into the barrel of the gun before it actually makes any kind of sense.


[ Parent ]
That was great. Thanks. /nt by ni (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:39:52 AM EST



"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
It's all Larkin. by Beechwood 45789 (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:44:36 AM EST
I'm just a typist.

[ Parent ]
Well, yes. by ni (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:49:19 AM EST
But thanks for typing it.

I won't have you unjustly running away from my gratitude.


"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM

[ Parent ]
Poem of the Day: "Aubade" by Philip Larkin | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback