Sunday, 22 February 2015

Poems for Sunday: Homage to Philip Larkin and Dylan Thomas

Two of the most popular British poets of the twentieth century are Dylan Thomas and Philip Larkin and yet they could not be less alike in style. In many senses, Larkin's restrained writing is a reaction against Thomas' neo-Romanticism. Here Phoebe Warren presents an artful homage to both poets.

Philip Larkin
Pursuing Youth 

Dull day for play, but the children hungrily await
Cramped over their desks gridded four by six,
Watching the rhythmic hand jittering on the clock
Until the bell sounds. The first break time of the day.

Thirty-six pairs of feet make pursuit,
Criss-crossing the field in a frenzy of excitement;
Soon the yellowing grass becomes muddied,
Scorched with the fragmented screams of glee

The freedom of play time always fascinates teachers: 
They wisely speculate over steaming coffees,
Gazing aimlessly at the seeming mania of youth,
Yet still retain a mysterious yearning to join them again. 

But the lines scolding their faces set them apart 
From the blissfully innocent. Now corrupted, the learned 
Can merely stare at a distance, with an erroneous hope 
This will allow them to reconnect with this dream.


Dylan Thomas
The Daily Expedition 

On the cliff top we stood
Where our cheeks met the whispers of the wind
Slowly exhaling onto our skin;
We paused to inhale the salted air
And ran freely in tune with the rising sun,
The golden haze glistening off our bodies

The rhythmic crashing of the shore line 
Rolled the blue sea upon 
The golden beaches, rising 
Up the white cliffs along the luscious 
Green grass, and we paused,
Admiring the land around us

And there was a fence we climbed over
Exploring the land we knew so well
But forever finding something new:
A sunflower shook its golden face
Greeting us on this very morning
And we went on our way

Over the hay bales we skipped
Growing more confident as we rose
Onto the highest hill and gazed
Over the land we had yet to explore 
Till the Sun began to fall

Stumbling into the land of tomorrow.

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