Aug 21 2008
Way back in school, surrounded by Yeats and Keats and Heaney and Shakespearean sonnets, when I discovered Phillip Larkin‘s poetry it was like a breath of fresh air. I realise how juvenile it was now looking back, but when I first read this, it spoke to me. I loved it.
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.
Philip Larkin (1971)
All these years later, it’s still sound advice. 🙂