Love again: wanking at ten past three
(Surely he’s taken her home by now?),
The bedroom hot as a bakery,
The drink gone dead, without showing how
To meet tomorrow, and afterwards,
And the usual pain, like dysentery.
Someone else feeling her breasts and cunt,
Someone else drowned in that lash-wide stare,
And me supposed to be ignorant,
Or find it funny, or not to care,
Even ... but why put it into words?
Isolate rather this element
That spreads through other lives like a tree
And sways them on in a sort of sense
And say why it never worked for me.
Something to do with violence
A long way back, and wrong rewards,
And arrogant eternity.
Philip Larkin, “Love Again” 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)