larkin

vienna can be very dark in winter so one seeks the sun. one of the best places to find it is the hofberg square beside the national library and across from the art galleries.

so there i went with philip larkin’s high windows in hand. and was surprised at the strength of his language. i read his poetry at trinity college. my gay professor’s reedy voice did not do larkin justice.

he describes a late night dinner in an english coutnry inn:

The wine heats temper and complexion:
Oath-enforced assertions fly
On rheumy fevers, resurrection,
Regicide and rabbit pie.

he talks about property development by the seaside:

…but greeds
And garbage are too thick-strewn
To be swept up now, or invent
Excuses that make them all needs.

whole poems are both exquisite and profound

High Windows

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he’s fucking her and she’s
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives—
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,
And thought, That’ll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide
What you think of the priest. He
And his lot will all go down the long slide
Like free bloody birds. And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

such fine lines – diaphragm followed by “I know this is paradise” and later “The sun-comprehending glass” in contrast to the people who neither appreciate nor understand the role of the sun in the struggle against nothing, nowhere and eternity. our only companion as we walk our pleasant gallows to dusky death.