Poetry

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Larkin:
Wild oats
Talking in bed
Broadcast
Love songs in age
Faith healing
Sunny prestatyn
For Sidney bechet

Abse:
St valentines night
A scene from married life
The Malian bird
Blond bys
The silence of tudor evans
Focus on ideas of love

Wild Oats
BY PHILIP LARKIN

About twenty years ago
Two girls came in where I worked—
A bosomy English rose
And her friend in specs I could talk to.
Faces in those days sparked
The whole shooting-match off, and I doubt
If ever one had like hers:
But it was the friend I took out,

And in seven years after that
Wrote over four hundred letters,
Gave a ten-guinea ring
I got back in the end, and met
At numerous cathedral cities
Unknown to the clergy. I believe
I met beautiful twice. She was trying
Both times (so I thought) not to laugh.

Parting, after about five
Rehearsals, was an agreement
That I was too selfish, withdrawn,
And easily bored to love.
Well, useful to get that learnt.
In my wallet are still two snaps
Of bosomy rose with fur gloves on.
Unlucky charms, perhaps.

Talking In Bed
BY PHILIP LARKIN

Talking in bed ought to be easiest, 
Lying together there goes back so far, 
An emblem of two people being honest. 

Yet more and more time passes silently. 
Outside, the wind's incomplete unrest 
Builds and disperses clouds in the sky, 

And dark towns heap up on the horizon. 
None of this cares for us. Nothing shows why 
At this unique distance from isolation 

It becomes still more difficult to find 
Words at once true and kind, 
Or not untrue and not unkind.

Broadcast
BY PHILIP LARKIN

Giant whispering and coughing from
Vast Sunday-full and organ-frowned-on spaces
Precede a sudden scuttle on the drum,
'The Queen', and huge resettling. Then begins
A snivelling of the violins:
I think of your face among all those faces,

Beautiful and devout before
Cascades of monumental slithering,
One of your gloves unnoticed on the floor
Beside those new, slightly-outmoded shoes.
Here it goes quickly dark. I lose
All but the outline of the still and withering

Leaves on half-emptied trees. Behind
The glowing wavebands, rabid storms of chording
By being distant overpower my mind
All the more shamelessly, their cut-off shout
Leaving me desperate to pick out
Your hands, tiny in all that air, applauding

Love Songs In Age
BY PHILIP LARKIN

She kept her songs, they kept so little space, 
The covers pleased her: 
One bleached from lying in a sunny place, 
One marked in circles by a vase of water, 
One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her, 
And coloured, by her daughter - 
So they had waited, till, in widowhood 
She found them, looking for something else, and stood 

Relearning how each frank submissive chord 
Had ushered in 
Word after sprawling hyphenated word, 
And the unfailing sense of being young 
Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein 
That hidden freshness sung, 
That certainty of time laid up in store 
As when she played them first. But, even more, 

The glare of that much-mentioned brilliance, love, 
Broke out, to show 
Its bright incipience sailing above, 
Still promising to solve, and satisfy, 
And set unchangeably in order. So 
To pile them back, to cry, 
Was hard, without lamely admitting how 
It had not done so then, and could not now.

Faith Healing
BY PHILIP LARKIN

Slowly the women file to where he stands
Upright in rimless glasses, silver hair,
Dark suit, white collar. Stewards tirelessly
Persuade them onwards to his voice and hands,
Within whose warm spring rain of loving care
Each dwells some twenty seconds. Now, dear child,
What’s wrong, the deep American voice demands,
And, scarcely pausing, goes into a prayer
Directing God about this eye, that knee.
Their heads are clasped abruptly; then, exiled

Like losing thoughts, they go in silence; some
Sheepishly stray, not back into their lives
Just yet; but some stay stiff, twitching and loud
With...
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