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Sad Steps Analysis

Author: Poetry of Philip Larkin Type: Poetry Views: 989

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High Windows1974Groping back to bed after a piss

I part the thick curtains, and am startled by

The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness.Four o'clock: wedge-shaped gardens lie

Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.

There's something laughable about this,The way the moon dashes through the clouds that blow

Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart

(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)High and preposterous and separate-

Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!

O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,One shivers slightly, looking up there.

The hardness and the brightness and the plain

far-reaching singleness of that wide stareIs a reminder of the strength and pain

Of being young; that it can't come again,

But is for others undiminished somewhere.


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

.: sad steps :.

To me this has to be Larkin at his best. The poem brilliantly, yet dilligently, brings Sidney's Sonnet back down to earth. Follow Larkin's opening line and compare it to Sidney's - "With how sad steps oh moon thou climbst the sky" (Sidney).
"Groping back to bed... etc." is indeed a good description of "sad steps".
Larkin carries this on throughout the poem to a wonderful and poigant apogee - "The hardness... but is for others undiminished somewhere." The word "somewhere" is the key to Larkin's mastery of wordplay.

| Posted on 2004-09-13 | by Approved Guest

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