‘Here’ is a poem exploring Larkin’s flight of imagination as he travels from London to Hull on the train. It is the first poem in The Whitsun Weddings collection and seems to be an appropriate introduction because, much like his other poetry, it looks at humanity’s place in the world and the effect of consumerism.
Following the pattern of many other poems in this collection, ‘Here’ begins with physical ideas of ‘rich industrial images’, before becoming more abstract in the final stanza. By beginning the poem with the participle, ‘swerving’, Larkin immediately gives the reader a sense of the moment being suspended in the present, before an unpredictable, fast movement, which is not usually associated with travelling on a train. The word itself is sudden, describing an immediate action and repetition of this throughout the first stanza emphasises this sensation, creating a feeling of Larkin’s thoughts being free and unrestrained. The beauty of this movement is then contrasted by the sharp sounds of the ‘thin and thistled’ fields, bringing attention to the change in surroundings, from the town to the countryside. By listing what he sees from the window of the train – ‘scarecrows, haystacks, hares and pheasants’ - Larkin constructs a series of moving rural images that contrast to the earlier industrial descriptions of ‘workmen at dawn’. The sibilance on ‘haystacks, hares’ increases the rhythm of the poem and represents the movement of the journey of the train. As well as this, the constant and repetitive use of ‘and’ in this stanza creates a feeling of the images continuing forever, without stopping. This is further emphasised by the fact that the poem is all one sentence that is not end-stopped until the final stanza, resulting in the feeling of building tension and pressure.
In the last two lines, Larkin further