What Ideas About Love and the Past Are Explored in ‘Love Songs in Age’ and ‘Wild Oats’ by Philip Larkin? Use ‘Down the M4’ by Dannie Abse to Illuminate Your Response.

Topics: Love, Dannie Abse, Stanza Pages: 4 (1405 words) Published: April 13, 2012
Throughout Love Songs in Age and Wild Oats, Philip Larkin uses various literary techniques, such as imagery, structure and symbolism to convey certain aspects of love and the passing of time. These aspects are illuminated by Dannie Abse in Down the M4. Love Songs in Age pictures a woman, perhaps Larkin’s mother, who has kept the musical scores of songs she used to play, perhaps on the piano, and rediscovers them after many years, when she is a widow. In the poem, Larkin uses lexical choice to explore how the idea of love is often distorted and in reality, love fails to live up to its promises of ‘freshness’ and ‘brilliance’. In the third stanza, the concept of ‘much-mentioned’ almost clichéd, love is presented in its ‘brilliance’, love lifts us up, ‘its bright incipience sailing above’; it is ‘still promising to solve, to satisfy’; and brings order to chaos ‘set unchangeably in order’. However, in a moment of tearful recognition, ‘to cry’ the character reflects on how love has not fulfilled those bright promises, leaving the last sad note: ‘it had not done so then, and could not now’. This painful recognition of the failure of love’s promise to solve the loneliness of our lives, in both youth and age, is illuminated in Down the M4 by Dannie Abse. The negative ending, ‘It won’t keep’ implying that the mother’s life, symbolised by the ‘tune’ is not permanent, illuminates the perishability of love in Love Songs in Age, and how we must eventually see past the ‘promises’ and instead ‘glare’ into the reality of death, without lasting love. In Wild Oats, love is conveyed in a similar fashion. It explains that a person, over the course of time, comes to realise that his greatest desires of love, are unattainable, and second best things will have to suffice. The central purpose of this poem is to show that love is one of these great desires and despite flashes of promise it contains scarcely anything that is more than fragmentary. Larkin reveals, through tone, diction,...
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