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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Philip Larkin: Days


Mitla by raworth.

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

File:Eriophorum scheuchzeri.jpg

Days: Philip Larkin, 1953 (from The Whitsun Weddings, 1964)
Mitla: the stone (22.11.09): photo by Tom Raworth, 2009
Common cottongrass (Eriophorum scheuchzeri): photo by Franz Xaver, 1991


Alva Svoboda said...

I love the idea that the priest and the doctor are just outside the frame of Tom Raworth's photograph, running in (ready for their closeups). Possibly they will stumble on boulders before entering the scene.

Alva Svoboda said...

Um, I guess that would be Franz Xaver's photograph of the running field over which. Tom Raworth's being the stumbling boulder itself.

~otto~ said...

Wow, thanks for sharing Larkin. Never heard of him, but this poem is great.

TC said...


I really like it too.


Yes, that was exactly my thought, adding further obstacles (the boulders) between the priest and the doctor, with their already pre-existing nescience, and the truth about where we can live apart from in days.

The older and bolder I become, the more I stumble.

Of course in recent years my own (totally unsatisfactory) to the question posed by the poet, here, would be: nights.

Elmo St. Rose said...

doctors who wear long coats trip

TC said...

This is one doctor who knows his science.

Pinkerbell said...

Simple, yet wonderfully effective. I love Larkin's way with the most inconsequential of words.

TC said...

Yes, P, the simple words do indeed work quite wonderfully here.

One can almost imagine the first stanza as Teletubbies dialogue.