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Myxomatosis Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 4

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Caught in the center of a soundless field
While hot inexplicable hours go by
What trap is this? Where were its teeth concealed?
You seem to ask.
                  I make a sharp reply,
Then clean my stick. I'm glad I can't explain
Just in what jaws you were to suppurate:
You may have thought things would come right again
If you could only keep quite still and wait.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Interestingly enough I stumbled on to Larkin and his poem doing a cross reference to the song titled as such also. I believe the trial site introduction picture should be looked at while reading Larkins poem and listening to radiohead in the backround, and possibly glancing at a photo of Larkins himself! Morbidly settling

| Posted on 2010-11-05 | by a guest

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Larkin has found a rabbit suffering from myxomatosis on a field, suggesting the ‘rabbit caught in the headlights’ idiom on the first line, this and the title create an immediate tension. The disease becomes an invisible threat that infects the ‘soundless field’ and the ‘hot inexplicable hours’. The rabbit is caught in the ‘centre’ of this trap from which it cannot escape.
Larkin, at this point, does the decent thing and puts the animal out of its misery. This is suggested in the ‘sharp reply’ and the fracture where the two verses split violently. The first verse asks questions ‘what trap is this?, the second verse offers unsatisfactory and ambiguous answers ‘I’m glad I can’t explain...’.
The break in the verses marks the passing from life to death, the first verse muses on life, and the second on death. He seems to be saying life is full of questions, and in its way death has its own answers though you may not like or understand them.
Imagery of stasis and stillness permeate the work as does the sense of being caught in a trap. Larkin is ultimately musing on the merits of the rabbit’s philosophy toward threat and death. Perhaps the rabbit was right, after all, to ‘keep still and wait’ and an ambiguity is formed as a result of Larkin understanding the futility of the rabbit’s struggle but not understanding the futility of his own.

| Posted on 2010-01-06 | by a guest

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That was my initial thought when i stumbled on this poem. I think they are thematically similar for sure. Myxomatosis was deliberately introduced to kill rabbits in australia and europe. It is a disease that causes "rabbits [to] become listless, lose appetite, and develop a fever." I don't know if a marriage of these two facts is what either authors had in mind but i suspect it is. I am really starting to like Philip Larkin a lot!

| Posted on 2008-12-10 | by a guest

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It would be interesting to find comparisons between this poem and Radiohead's Myxomatosis

| Posted on 2008-09-18 | by a guest

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