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Literature Poetry Uncategorized

Mourning and the Movement

I have been perusing in a somewhat feckless manner an introductory chapter in Blake Morrison’s carefully written “The Movement” subtitled, English Poetry and Fiction of the 1950s. Here he mentions a poem about Plymouth by Philip Larkin which begins-

A box of teak, a box of sandalwood,

A brass-ringed spyglass in a case,

A coin, leaf thin with many polishings,

(Collected poems page 166)

This appears to be an early poem which concludes with a stanza that explains in which Larkin says of his intentions for his poetry……

Let my hands find such symbols, that can be

Unnoticed in the casual light of day,

Lying in wait for half a century

To split chance lives across, that had not dreamed

Such coasts had echoed, or such seabirds had screamed.

Now when today mourning takes place with great pomp and ceremony it is somewhat salutary to turn to Keith Douglas killed fighting in the Second World War, admired by Movement poets, and his splendid and sparse poem-

Simplify me when I’m Dead

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