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Love Songs In Age Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 15

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She kept her songs, they kept so little space,

  The covers pleased her:

One bleached from lying in a sunny place,

One marked in circles by a vase of water,

One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her,

  And coloured, by her daughter -

So they had waited, till, in widowhood

She found them, looking for something else, and stood

Relearning how each frank submissive chord

  Had ushered in

Word after sprawling hyphenated word,

And the unfailing sense of being young

Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein

  That hidden freshness sung,

That certainty of time laid up in store

As when she played them first. But, even more,

The glare of that much-mentionned brilliance, love,

  Broke out, to show

Its bright incipience sailing above,

Still promising to solve, and satisfy,

And set unchangeably in order. So

  To pile them back, to cry,

Was hard, without lamely admitting how

It had not done so then, and could not now.


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

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In the second stanza, the "hyphenated word" draws a parallel to that used in music scores, often to enable the word after the hyphen to be in alignement with the general nuances of the song..perhaps the same could be referenced from the stanza

| Posted on 2014-01-23 | by a guest

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In ‘Love Songs in Ages’, Larkin talks about how you wait for your whole life for marriage as women crave the completion marriage brings to your life. By using metaphorical songs, he talks of how this women waits ‘till in widowhood’ for love, her failure to find the right man evident through the repetition of the ‘One’ – love completes us..

| Posted on 2013-11-05 | by a guest

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Larkin also comes across with the idea that love is not all it 'promises'

| Posted on 2013-06-27 | by a guest

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Time/life does not live up to our expectationsl/love is a disappointment
3 stanzas octaves
3rd person narrative voice sympathetic
Sheet music objective correlative for abstract emotive nature of loss and disillusion
Fine detailed observation movement from keepsakes of love/youth to motherhood to widowhood to memory of youth in old age - awakening painful recognition of failure of loves promise to solve the loneliness of our lives in both youth and age. Everyday domestic objects and places captured in everyday expressions a tidy fit - moves into highly wrought figurative language to express distance between our actions and thoughts/hopes of transcendence through love its bright incipience sailing above finally moves into realisation of It had not done so then, and could not now.
Conclusion then and now merge life experience/age does not lessen our longing/disappointments.
One view - As a hoarder myself of scraps of paper containing poems, fragments, lyrics, images - I can understand (as I'm sure we all can) the significance the subject attaches to the sheet music - both the covers and the music they contain.
All our possessions remind us of something or someone; 'One marked in circles by a vase of water', 'And coloured, by her daughter'. It's as if the things themselves are capable of storing memories to confront us with when we least expect it. In typical Larkin style he shows us the joy of life, love and happiness by making us recognise that we missed out - it passed us by; the illusion of 'That certainty of time laid up in store'. We each have our own 'much-mentioned brilliance' of something, which is 'Still promising to solve, and satisfy,/ And set unchangeably in order', whether it's love, money, power...
For me, the most important phrase in the poem is 'looking for something else'. It brings to mind the final lines of 'The Mower', the poem Betty Mackereth chose as her nomination for Poem of The Month in May 2002:
... we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
Another view - I've always had a soft spot for 'Love Songs in Age', which was written in the year I was born. Just three sentences, with the first continuing right up to the last line of the second stanza One of the things I noticed about the poem when I was setting it to music was the high incidence of words containing the 's' sound, which conveys a certain sadness, sympathy or resignation, in as much as it resembles a sigh. Remarkably, in the second stanza of the poem almost 20% - 1 in 5 - words begin with the 's' sound; with nearly as high a percentage in the first stanza. And when you add the number of words containing the 's' sound within them... As usual with a Larkin poem, because of the register, rhythm, rhyme sequence and cadences, this is hardly noticeable when reading or hearing the poem

| Posted on 2010-01-18 | by a guest

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