But it feels to me that both poems exemplify what I think of as Larkin's harsh honesty, that sense of looking at the lives we try to lead in the darkest possible light. Larkin, an enthusiast for New Orleans and swing-era jazz, has a hot feel for rhythm; all his poems swing, and swing hardest at the ends of lines. Pay close, sustained attention to what you see outside your window. The second thing he notices is how the brides and their maids dress in an attempt to reproduce fashion, but succeed only in becoming parodies of style. The continuous rhyming pattern throughout the eight verses and the pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables.
But now the faces have been blurred and their clothing can be vaguely seen and gradually names have been erased. Have each pair or group then write a brief explanation of their choices: why did they break lines where they did? He remains today one of the best-known and most popular British neoformalists. The afternoon was a stiflingly humid one as the train shot past fields with grazing cattle, canal contaminated with industrial wastes, a glass house growing plants, the smell of the grass contrasted with the stale smell of the upholstery, dumped dismantled cars. This may explain why Larkin saw so many wedding parties during an actual train ride in 1955, which gave him the germ of the poem. In the final stanza, Larkin states that the erosion of their form and the changes in culture have transformed the statues into something they weren't originally meant to be.
All down the line Fresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round; The last confetti and advice were thrown, And, as we moved, each face seemed to define Just what it saw departing: children frowned At something dull; fathers had never known Success so huge and wholly farcical; The women shared The secret like a happy funeral; While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared At a religious wounding. The poem's narrator describes the scenery and smells of the countryside and towns through which the largely empty train passes. I came to Larkin quite late and read this about 10 years ago after reading Andrew Motion's biography of Larkin. Another one of Larkin's thin volumes of poetry. In the 1950s, British tax law made the Whitsun weekend a financially advantageous time to be married.
None of this cares for us. On the other, several British tax codes in the 1950s and a long holiday season made the Whitsun weekend even more opportune a moment to marry. Larkin examines this poem, even from the point of the love couple. When the artist made their sculpture, he made their clear images and names at the base. As you turn those notes into a poem, think about ways to create a sense of movement within language itself. The day is a Whitsun Day on which the British Government frees marriage taxes for one day.
Another change since the War has been the emergence of a new custom — Plough Sunday — which occurs the day before Plough Monday. Are there any other journeys in the poem? Stanza 7 It is worth noting that more personality is given to the inanimate British countryside — of which we get only description — than is giving to the people that Larkin strove to describe. The tomb of Earl of Arundel and his wife is speaking of this changing time. Yet the power of this final image lies not in the Romantic allusion, but in how Larkin uses a cliché, a shower of arrows. Larkin's letters mention two journeys, one to not at Whit, some weddings , and one to London not at Whit, no weddings , that may have been conflated in the poem.
His curiosity is struck as he watches the various people before him. Here the technology of war is re-naturalized, just as each human life on the train itself an arrow leaves the bow only to dissolve midair into falling rain. The poem describes a springtime train journey with brides and grooms and weeding parties from Paragon Station, Kingston upon Hull, to London. Yes, from cafés And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressedCoach-party annexes, the wedding-daysWere coming to an end. Every time I re-read a poem, I feel something different and that's an amazing experience as a reader.
He is not sure why exactly he wants to be there, and is even more confused by what he sees inside. In a brilliant use of run-on-lines between stanzas four and five, Larkin states that the figures in the monument kept up their stony form and appearance firmly and inflexibly. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra just for you. In the second movement of the poem, the tone changes as the narrator becomes a detached, middle- class observer, who describes the families of the newly-weds in highly- unflattering terms. Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and Canals with floatings of industrial froth; A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dipped And rose: and now and then a smell of grass Displaced the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth Until the next town, new and nondescript, Approached with acres of dismantled cars. Some of the poems were very good, some seemed to end too soon.
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, andCanals with floatings of industrial froth;A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dippedAnd rose: and now and then a smell of grassDisplaced the reek of buttoned carriage-clothUntil the next town, new and nondescript,Approached with acres of dismantled cars. He is too aloof from the audience he wants to communicate with. Since 'reading' The Whitsun Weddings on Monday night, I've re-read it every day this week. Free Online Education from Top Universities Yes! If you find him too depressing, read some Plath and try again. How does Philip Larkin convey sensory experience through specific detail? The poet focuses on the various bridal couples waving good bye to their friends and dodging fresh showers of confetti as they board the train. Great poets can do this in a few hundred words. In the sixth stanza, Larkin suggests the movement, visits and touches of the ever varying crowds gently washed away the clear form and outline of the figures in the monument.
Then begin to focus on the journeys. In 1946, he became assistant librarian at University College, Leicester and in 1955 sub-librarian at Queen's University, Belfast. The happiness of marriage cannot last forever according to him. On the occasions when he transcends these self-imposed limitations, the results are luminous. This couple too has gone out of sight and hence their being forgotten is natural. Like the train which stops at the terminus , with passengers lacking bonds of love, going their separate ways , there is the note of inevitable dissolution.