View Full Version : Who wrote it?

3rd Aug 2006, 18:15
Perhaps the resources of PPRuNe can help me find an answer. There was a late 20th century English poet, died just a few years ago, who has verses to the effect that, without exception, our parents screw things up for us. As I recall, he put it a little more brutally than that. It is an unhappy thought, but not without truth. Can anyone lelp me with his name, and the poem?

ORAC? perhaps? or planeenglish? Dr draper, from your treasury of books?

3rd Aug 2006, 18:33
"they fcuk you up your Mum and Dad" Philip Larkin former Poet Laureate. Which poem - can't remember.
The Ancient Mariner

3rd Aug 2006, 18:37
Maybe him?


Just a wild guess.

3rd Aug 2006, 18:37
Philip Larkin - This Be The Verse

They f:mad: you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were f:mad: ed up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

3rd Aug 2006, 18:37
Beat me to it Rossian, I believe the poem is entitled This Be The Verse, the first line being They **** you up, your mum and dad

3rd Aug 2006, 18:39
Heard the name but never read any of his work. (Guess I was mistaken.)

3rd Aug 2006, 18:53
Wunderbar! Eighteen minutes! He's the man, and that's the poem. Many thanks to all.

By way of -- not recompense, but -- something:

"Here am I, here are you:
But what does it mean? What are we going to do?"

W H Auden; and

"There was a Door to which I had no Key:
There was a veil past which I could not see:
Some little talk of ME and THEE
There seemed --- and then no more of THEE and ME"

Omar Khayyam.

And now she is dead.

tony draper
3rd Aug 2006, 18:58
Isn't he the cove with the exceedingly wrinkled face who buggad off to our American colonies at the outbreak of war? one recals Alan Bennet saying of him. "if that was his face god knows what his bollix looked like".
Hee hee, one likes Alan Bennet even though he is a arch luviie.

3rd Aug 2006, 20:18
Is Alan related to Gordon by chance ??

3rd Aug 2006, 20:29
Almost beyond peradventure I can assure you he is not.

4th Aug 2006, 07:28
Dear Mr. Davaar,

I just found this thread and am sorry I was too late to help. I see that you found Mr. Larkin You can find out more about him here (http://www.slate.com/id/2101346/)...

I found him as I studied library sciences in University. I later changed my career but never my passion.

I do not agree with him on procreation nor on parental influence. I believe he had difficulty with his own upbringing, I did not.

Ironically this coincides with a most bittersweet time for me. I am a mother of four children having had one taken from me.Unfortunately, I only have three alive with me today. I refer to my children as the three little pigs, alas the fourth little piggie (the third's twin) seems to have been unable to huff and puff on her own and the big bad wolf took her away on San Lorenzo's day-the night of the falling star-10 August 2002.

I wouldn't change my parental status even if I could. A very sage person once said, "children do not belong to us; they belong to the future". Why my little love wasn't able to go on into her future I will never know. Not a day passes without my thoughts drifting to her and her demise. I've hardened my heart and mind a bit but have the chance to grow three parts of the future and will do so as best I can, with love.

Below is a passage of a very wise prophet. Larkin blames our ancestors and their loving ignorance. Kahlil Gibran credits us that our children, with kinder words can say the same thing, albeit more effectively. My own mother used to say many things to the effect that we can say things nicely and obtain more. Do you agree?

On Children

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.


4th Aug 2006, 07:50
I think my favourite Larkin lines are:

Sexual intercourse began
In 1963 (which was rather late for me)
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles first LP.

... a chronology probably completely opaque to a non-Brit!

tony draper
4th Aug 2006, 08:10
Do we still own a Poet Laureate ? only one I can recal is John Bechemen(sp?) one quite likes old John,he made a couple of good documentries,hmmm one wonders how much the job pays?
One has thunk and thinks the exceedingly wrinkley faced poet who skinned out was W H Auden, one cannot say one is familiar with his work.

Paris Dakar
4th Aug 2006, 08:11

Beautiful words..........


4th Aug 2006, 08:55
Do we still own a Poet Laureate ? only one I can recal is John Bechemen(sp?) one quite likes old John,he made a couple of good documentries,hmmm one wonders how much the job pays?
One has thunk and thinks the exceedingly wrinkley faced poet who skinned out was W H Auden, one cannot say one is familiar with his work.
Appointed by letters patent
1670 John Dryden
1689 Thomas Shadwell
1692 Nahum Tate
1715 Nicholas Rowe
1718 Reverend Laurence Eusden
1730 Colley Cibber
1757 William Whitehead, on the refusal of Thomas Gray
1785 Reverend Thomas Warton, on the refusal of William Mason
1790 Henry James Pye
1813 Robert Southey, on the refusal of Sir Walter Scott
1843 William Wordsworth
1850 Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1896 Alfred Austin, on the refusal of William Morris
1913 Robert Bridges
1930 John Masefield, OM
1967 Cecil Day-Lewis, CBE
1972 Sir John Betjeman, CBE
1984 Ted Hughes, OM (widower of Sylvia Plath), on the refusal of Philip Larkin
1999 Andrew Motion
One can not be owned. Although some try...
Thank you Paris Dakar, but I am no prophet in this land of profit. In my opinion real poets are few and far between these days. I am a Tennyson and Poe gal myself. I wrote a paper on Lord Alfie and Mr. Eeekie Poe in the fourth grade when we were to write an essay on war heroes. I believe that prank cost me. :ok: :8
I was born in the wrong era. I've decided I should have been born when Wilbur and Orville still built bikes. I could have sat upon the sandy shores of Kitty Hawk and scribbled furiously and endlessly in my book of the wonders before my eyes!!!

4th Aug 2006, 18:19
Dear plane:

Thank you. One delight of posting here is that one need never take an extreme position. Within two replies oneís most careful shadings will be resolved into raving racism, nazism or, most recent in my own experience, discipleship of a Ms Ann Coulter of whom I had never heard.

You have not imputed any such evils to me, but I do think we differ at ... shall we say? ... the margin.

Mr Larkin, it seems, led a sour life, in reverse order to your own. He did not wish to become a librarian, but you did; in the end he became one, but you, thus far anyway, ceased to be one.

Larkinís first verse is not always true, but it often is. That is scarcely surprising since parenthood is essentially unskilled labour. Even where true the verse is also unfair in many cases, because for all their errors, parents often compensate with untold good intentions and good results.

His second verse is forgiving, I rather think. I can think of parents who suffered exactly the misfortunes he alludes to, and unfortunately passed some of them down the line, innocently but effectively. Since it was innocent it does not even call for forgiveness. No sin or evil was intended.

But then, though no evil was intended by Sassoonís general, he managed to achieve it:

"Good morning, good morning!" the General said,
When we met him last week on the way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
"He's a cheery old card" grunted Harry to Jack,
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
But he did for them both with his plan of attack."

As to the third verse, Larkin displays superficiality with which I do disagree. That verse is the first in which he addresses what he may do, rather than what his parents did, and it need not follow from what precedes it. If he has seen verses one and two in operation, there is nothing to stop him from applying the lessons.

I am sorry about your bereavement. Your good fortune in upbringing does not establish that Larkin was equally blessed. I suspect no one knows much about anyone else.

I am sure not a day passes but your thoughts turn to her who is departed. My own thoughts turn daily to one of whom I am bereft.

I would not change my own parental status either, but that is not what Larkin was considering in the first and second verses.

4th Aug 2006, 20:36
:ok: :)


5th Aug 2006, 15:32
was how Auden's face was once described! He and his very close friend Christopher Isherwood headed off to the States, well, California actually, when the Second World War got going back in the UK. This led to a certain amount of ill will towards them back home. Such is life.

Have a look at 'Toads,' by Philip Larkin for a really fine poem.

That other one gets all the attention. Slipping back into the Anglo-Saxon vernacular was a legitimate use of the language, perhaps, and it seems to get people excited.

I like it when people can still get het up over poetry. It just goes to show that it can still make the running even when up against all the overheated, multi-media crap on offer nowadays.