a need
September 18, 2012, 11:34 pm
Filed under: the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: , , , ,

Not Love Perhaps
This is not Love perhaps – Love that lays down
Its life, that many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown –
But something written in lighter ink, said in a lower tone:
Something perhaps especially our own:
A need at times to be together and talk –
And then the finding we can walk
More firmly through dark narrow places
And meet more easily nightmare faces:
A need to reach out sometimes hand to hand –
And then find Earth less like an alien land:
A need for alliance to defeat
The whisperers at the corner of the street:
A need for inns on roads, islands in seas, halts for discoveries to be shared,
Maps checked and notes compared:
A need at times of each for each
Direct as the need of throat and tongue for speech.


Amour Sans Tomber, Sara Aanwyl

ornate and mad in the evening sun
January 6, 2011, 6:31 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , ,

I first read the poem Money by Philip Larkin over 20 years ago, and have gone back to it occasionally since, and it still comes back to me and sits in my mind these many years later.   Mostly the image of the fourth stanza:  looking down / From long french windows at a provincial town.  How strange – and beautiful – that money could be like looking out a window over a town.

There are two kinds of people in this milieu, those who use money and live and those who don’t understand these systems and become critical of them and eventually merely observers of life.  Try as he may, the poet can’t let go his criticism of the futility of acquisition and pursuit and allow himself to enter into life.

In the first stanza he’s goaded by money:  it scolds him – use me for pleasure, it says.  In the second he looks around at other people not waiting to buy relationships and material goods with their money.  In the third he agrees with what the world tells him:  it’s crazy to wait, spend your money and live now, he decides.

It’s the fourth stanza that’s strange and beautiful.  He’s ensconced, now, in his acquisition and money in a room with tall windows looking down at a town far below:  a place that is backward, poor, superstitious, gaudy, crazy, but also alive.  He’s outside of life in all four stanzas but in the fourth he’s in money, looking down from it at people madly pursuing life.  Money separates him from the life he was told he could live if he embraced it, and now it’s late, sunlight is draining away from the town and money sings it’s melancholy song.

Read the whole poem here.  Following is the fourth stanza —

I listen to money singing. It’s like looking down

From long french windows at a provincial town,

The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad

In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.

Money, Philip Larkin