There’s one made up of the Norse
world and Anglo-Saxon
spearshafts at the bottom of our garden,
its golden key-bunches seared
to a scarred grey homonym
A poem by Philip Larkin, first published in the New Statesman on 24 November 1961.
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
I share my name with the unproductive bees
who do all the work. I travel in the night,
like angels or figments of imagination.
I suffer power-cuts, but still perform
He likes children, even these ones,
full-bladdered, their uniforms rubbing static
against the cage, failing to take seriously
This poem is its own obituary.
At home, quietly, after a short illness.
Beloved son of, mother to, lover of.
Born in obscurity, by a moon river.