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Best Society Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 2

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When I was a child, I thought,

Casually, that solitude

Never needed to be sought.

Something everybody had,

Like nakedness, it lay at hand,

Not specially right or specially wrong,

A plentiful and obvious thing

Not at all hard to understand.

Then, after twenty, it became

At once more difficult to get

And more desired - though all the same

More undesirable; for what

You are alone has, to achieve

The rank of fact, to be expressed

In terms of others, or it's just

A compensating make-believe.

Much better stay in company!

To love you must have someone else,

Giving requires a legatee,

Good neighbours need whole parishfuls

Of folk to do it on - in short,

Our virtues are all social; if,

Deprived of solitude, you chafe,

It's clear you're not the virtuous sort.

Viciously, then, I lock my door.

The gas-fire breathes. The wind outside

Ushers in evening rain. Once more

Uncontradicting solitude

Supports me on its giant palm;

And like a sea-anemone

Or simple snail, there cautiously

Unfolds, emerges, what I am.


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