Essay on aubade philip larkin

new love is like an innocent waif
it chafes, delights, bedevils, insights, excites you
terribly wasted if untasted
so when, if, you get around to it,
you’ll see it in its birthday suit
so cute so good you would
not believe that it could first taste bitter,
and then
you immerse yourself in the briny,
as a proper heathen
should do, all clear and true, surely
full of heat too, don’t burn your tongue.
As Adam and Eve found it
in that famous garden, it went like this
apple-d seduction, surprise climax, guilt-like
response to you-don’t-even-know-what
beyond anything they could imagine
and thus, new love gives knowledge
whether or not you want it to
and gives way, and lets us, be.

The language is exquisite. The form is unique and daring– a series of brief language arts essays as if written by a school child, each responding to a literary work–Frost, Whitman, Thornton Wilder. The whole depicts in compressed form an autobiography of place, a very vegetal place, full of secret and entwining grow, itself a metaphor, as Whitman’s web-casting spider poem is, for the doings of the soul. I admire the originality of the structure which makes it new, and its engagement with both the intimate personal and the objective text– in this case literary text. That tension is at the root of the essay going back to Montaigne.

Essay on aubade philip larkin

essay on aubade philip larkin


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