Money

By Philip Larkin 1922–1985 Philip Larkin
Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
    ‘Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex.
    You could get them still by writing a few cheques.’

So I look at others, what they do with theirs:   
    They certainly don’t keep it upstairs.
By now they’ve a second house and car and wife:
    Clearly money has something to do with life

—In fact, they’ve a lot in common, if you enquire:
    You can’t put off being young until you retire,
And however you bank your screw, the money you save
    Won’t in the end buy you more than a shave.

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.

Philip Larkin, “Money” from Collected Poems. Used by permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Philip Larkin.

Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)

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Poet Philip Larkin 1922–1985

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Disappointment & Failure, Living, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Couplet

 Philip  Larkin

Biography

Philip Larkin, an eminent writer in postwar England, was a national favorite poet who was commonly referred to as "England's other Poet Laureate" until his death in 1985. Indeed, when the position of laureate became vacant in 1984, many poets and critics favored Larkin's appointment, but the shy, provincial author preferred to avoid the limelight. An "artist of the first rank" in the words of Southern Review contributor John . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Disappointment & Failure, Living, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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