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The Trees – Philip Larkin – Analysis

Larkin is doubtless a great poet and a huge influence on successors. I think U.A. Fanthorpe is among these. His politics and attitudes are quite a different matter. There is an underlying sadness in this poem relieved in the final line.

my word in your ear

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full grown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Philip Larkin (1922 – 1985)

It is spring in Canberra, so these words are very apt. And as it is now Australian spring so May translates to September.

S1 … I do like that second line of the first stanza – like something almost being said – it articulates that almost opening of buds and leaves and gives voice to the season; personifying. The last line of this stanza catches…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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