Dear Readers, I am clearly of a poetic turn of mind this week, and so, although it’s a couple of months too early, I wanted to share with you this poem by Philip Larkin, a misogynistic curmudgeon of a man who nonetheless had a gift for poetry that seems to capture something important about the human condition. It’s as if he’s creating something beautiful almost against his will.
I read this poem at my Mum’s interment, in May, under a cherry tree. The fourth line gets me every time.
The Trees (1974)
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full-grown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.