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No Road Analysis

Author: Poetry of Philip Larkin Type: Poetry Views: 466

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XX Poems & The Less Deceived1950Since we agreed to let the road between us

Fall to disuse,

And bricked our gates up, planted trees to screen us,

And turned all time's eroding agents loose,

Silence, and space, and strangers - our neglect

Has not had much effect.Leaves drift unswept, perhaps; grass creeps unmown;

No other change.

So clear it stands, so little overgrown,

Walking that way tonight would not seem strange,

And still would be allowed. A little longer,

And time will be the stronger,Drafting a world where no such road will run

From you to me;

To watch that world come up like a cold sun,

Rewarding others, is my liberty.

Not to prevent it is my will's fulfillment.

Willing it, my ailment.


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

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Philip Larkin is one link of the long chain of English poets and novelists of the twentieth century. His first mature collection of poetry which was privately printed was “The Less Deceived” that first appeared in 1955 and was recognized as one of the outstanding collections of the year. Throughout the whole collection the theme of loss and diminishment is pervasive. And the poem “No Road” is not an exception either.
In his poems of this series Larkin invents stanza forms of intricate patterns that become one with the content of the poem. His rigorous adherence to these patterns brings the sadness into sharp relief and gives the emotions their authority.
The poem “No Road” is divided into three stanzas each of which has its own idea and theme, but on the whole they make the poem be integral. The first part of the poem tells us about the end of some relationships which still have the influence, which still are alive. The lyrical hero says, that no matter how he and his beloved have tried to forget everything what they had together (“to let the road between us/ Fall to disuse”, “bricked our gates up, planted trees to screen us”, “turned all time’s eroding agents loose”), they could not do that (“our neglect/ Has not had much effect”). The feelings of the main character are emphasized by some stylistic devices: the periphrasis “all time’s eroding agents” proves that there are so many things which can help people to forget each other, but right after this phrase the alliteration “Silence, and space, and strangers” opens the meaning of the periphrasis and leads to the idea of the whole verse: even these phenomena failed to make the couple forget about their love.
The second stanza keeps on capturing very precisely the way that even after a really deep relationship ends, one has the feeling that one could just turn it on again. And here the lyrical hero gives the information that practically everything after their break-up remains unchanged, and only “leaves drift unswept” and “grass creeps unmown”. Moreover, these two phrases emphasize the loneliness of the characters and something which is out of order, out of the usual life with the beloved person. In this verse the lyrical hero put clear the idea of restarting the relationships with the phrase “Walking that way tonight would not seem strange,/ And still would be allowed”. It is only after the relationship has ended, when people realize how deeply it has delved into them. And then they just think they can forget all the problems and go down the same road again.
But the last stanza tells us about the source of the break-up. It was the decision of the lyrical hero (“a world where no such road will run/ From you to me”), his feelings and his dissatisfaction were the reasons to split up. The verse acknowledges that the road will never be opened again, and the obstacle for this is the man himself. There is something left in his heart about his beloved, but he is not going to do anything to break the course of their present life (“Not to prevent it is my will’s fulfillment”).
The symbol of the road is not new in poetry and prose. In some works it is the symbol of life itself, in some works – of some long-lasting process. In this case the road is the symbol of love between the lyrical hero and his beloved person. Even the title of the poem emphasizes that there is no road that they can take together, no matter that they still have a chance and still love each other.
The poem “No Road” is the reflection of the famous phrase “One cannot go twice into the same river”. If a person loses his beloved once, there is no way back. There are new things, new people and some events in the new life which are different from those which were a little bit earlier. The past and the present do not coincide and do not go together. The past is the past, whatever it was…
The Analysis is written by Bachurina Julia (juliab-87@mail.ru)

| Posted on 2008-06-15 | by a guest

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