Thursday, November 8, 2012

Poem 24 - Afternoons

Here is a somber little poem about the disillusionment of young married women. I believe it was written in the late 1950s, before the sexual revolution, women’s lib, and personal fulfillment through outside employment. In this regard, it’s quite an insightful poem—ahead of its time.

Philip Larkin

Summer is fading:
The leaves fall in ones and twos
From trees bordering
The new recreation ground.
In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children.

Behind them, at intervals,
Stand husbands in skilled trades,
An estateful of washing,
And the albums, lettered
Our Wedding, lying
Near the television:
Before them, the wind
Is ruining their courting-places

That are still courting-places
(But the lovers are all in school),
And their children, so intent on
Finding more unripe acorns,
Expect to be taken home.
Their beauty has thickened.
Something is pushing them
To the side of their own lives.

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