Saturday, 26 April 2008

More on the old man I am...apparently hooked on blogging. It'll pass. I was hooked on MySpace a while back and I've been hooked on lots of other things before...

So why am I typing now instead of getting on with cooking (I will get to that - I like food too much)?'s just... I was looking through my file of other people's poems that I really, really like (photocopied and all put in one place - for guidance, inspiration and enjoyment) and I came across the page of Larkin quotes that I copied out when I was reading the Motion biography. There are some lovely sentences and sentiments so here's a few...I apologise for any misquoting...I haven't got the book here, just my own notes -

"poetry (at any rate in my case) is like trying to remember a tune you've forgotten"

"I have no ideas about poetry at all. For me, a poem is a crossroads of my thoughts, my feelings, my imaginings, my wishes and my critical sense"

"the only quality that makes art durable and famous is the quality of generating delight in the state of living"

Now, delight is a word that can be cloying, unsuitable, cringemaking and much worse in the wrong hands but here it is perfect.

One final odd personal note - I said to my Mum a while back that Larkin was my favourite poet. 'He was your father's favourite too', she said (with one of those looks) and it all seemed a bit weird when you think how many poets there are writing in English and that I never really knew my Dad or anything and just came to Larkin on my own. Nature, nurture...hah!


Marion McCready said...

I like and can relate to the first and second quotes.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I don't particularly agree with the third one either...especially taking into account the use of the word 'only'. Still, I thought it was interesting..especially taking into account his reputation as a bit of a doom and gloom merchant. I like how the most pessimistic people can sometimes be the most joyful too.

Hugh McMillan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hugh McMillan said...

It's the ease of access into Larkin I like (well one of the many things I like)

"poetry is memorable speech. I write when I feel strongly, and want to tell people...I have no enthusiasm for obscurity. Except of course, for luminous and wonder-generating obscurity."

I don't subscribe to Larkin as a kind of lyrical Victor Meldrew. I think he took, and showed, a massive love of life while recognising fully, as we all must do, poets or not, "the blight that man was born for"

I had no problem recognising it. My grannie used to look out the living room window every morning and say "Aye, another day nearer death

Rachel Fox said...

Now Shug - do you type too quickly or what?
As for your's a fine line with kids isn't it - how much do you keep them in a magical fantasy land, how much do you tell them the bitter truths of life (and death)? I try not to be too dour with mine but at the same time not too...fake. I made a weird kind of pact with myself that I would always tell her the truth...that makes for some interesting conversations! Sometimes the truth does end up being 'I'm just not in the mood to answer that question right now'. Gives me some time to think.

Hugh McMillan said...

My six year old girl's always asking about death. In fact she asks about everything:


Everything must be explained,
death, clouds, oxygen,
so when we at last descend,
you neatly clip the safety card
to the seat in front of you,
and talk us through what we do
should the plane, perhaps in the midst
of this very tight turn, ditch
in the sea. You practise the head
brace, check your shoes won’t tear
the safety slide. When the plane rocks,
you watch hopefully for the masks
to drop like blooms from the ceiling.
At a standstill, you scan the morning’s
light, sniff pine, prepare to change
topics. The rest of us, as ever, are insane:
mortal terror is our baggage; we swear,
we sweat, we are defined,
but all you have with you to declare,
is pure, unfettered mind.

Rachel Fox said...

You mean you get into planes! My little girl is one of the least flown children in the UK...because Mummy(ie me) finds it hard to fly without screaming 'we're all doomed (at least I hope so...get me out of here)!' for the entire flight.
Roll on the oil crisis - ground them all!