Poetry itself is a specialist form; however Larking poetry can be seen as homely and less dramatic. He brought back poetry as a relevant and accessible medium, as it is easily marginal’s. Larkin is a poet who concentrates on absence and reality, the mundane, small and intricate aspects of everyday life that are important, but often ignored. He depicts an English post-war setting, struggling with destitution and despair, affectively describing dislocated humanity within the disruption of modernism. His poetry produces a sense of agency, and his own normalization and loneliness is also reflected.
Larking poem, Maiden Name is a meditation on identity, memory, language and tradition. He represents the name as a disposable object, commenting on the preserving of values and the loss of them. The new consumerist age of disposal can be seen to be referred to here. He creates a sense of an unused, neglected old self and a past identity that has been lost through marriage. The woman’s maiden name has been used and neglected, being a phrase applicable to no one (1. 8). The use of iambic meter gives weight to Larking everyday language, emphasizing how easy it is to lose your identity.
The meter makes a seemingly congested line easy to dead, as the stresses make it flow naturally; for example, It means what we feel now about you then (1. 15). The rhythm reflects the want to take time leisurely, rather than being hasty, as perhaps the marriage in the poem was rushed, leading the woman to forget the past as she was thankfully confused (1. 4). Larkin does not say that the name means the person, he says it meant her face and voice (11. 2-3), and that it was of her that these two words were used (1. 7), being applicable (1. ) like an adjective. The word and the person are never completely melded, reflecting the disunion between a name and the self. This disunion is reflected in the last line of the second stanza; No, it means you. Or, since you’re past and gone (1. 14), suggesting that the woman’s self is past, whilst her previous name still exists. Larkin uses relatively commonplace words, but their simplicity emphasizes his argument about how easy it is to discard and neglect a word, a name, and so serious weight is given to everyday, often neglected language in poetry.
Larking Going, Going is a didactic poem, commenting on the rapid process of pollution and the changing environment. It is an implicit critique of the contemporary English environment, which has become alienating. The poem has a despairing edge, his view of England being fatalistic and apocalyptic, as he pressures a complete destruction of the countryside and national wholesomeness and identity of England. He produces a sense of agency, and this poem reflects Morrison thought that Larking poems were serving the needs of postwar Britain.
The title refers to the language of the auctioneer who, when selling something to the highest bidder, will say Going – going – gone before slamming down the hammer. This suggests the idea of parts of the country being sold off to those who can afford them, in quick succession, with no regard for the social cost. At the start of the poem, he uses the first person, l, to express what his past anxieties and thoughts of England were. He saw the countryside as having a balance between the rural and the urban that would last his time.
He has assumed he would still be able to escape the modernization to the countryside, by driving to it. The images of bleak high-risers (1. 11) and louts (1. 4) are suggestive to a industrial change at the start, yet it can be read that the people who live the high-risers have a bleak outlook, and emphasis can be put on the louts coming from a village (1. 4). In the fourth stanza, he describes what he feels now (1. 8), and the use of mass images suggests a loss of identity. For example the plural images of the crowd, kids (11. 9-21), More houses, more parking allowed, / More caravan sites, more pay (11. 22-3). England is becoming meaningless, having no individual identity, where greed’s / And garbage are too thick-strewn (11. 51-2). The spectacled grins (1. 25) represent the blandness of businessmen as they contemplate a commercial maneuver without taking account of the possible human consequences. Yet they are still mere grins, and not people. Modern industrial images are contrasted with the images of nature, such as the MI oaf (1. 0) and concrete and trees (1. 49). Industry is marshalling the countryside, neglecting it. In the third stanza he expresses the fairly naive belief that nature is stronger and more resilient than man and it will be able to recover. Later in the poem however, the strength of nature, how the earth will always respond (1. 14), is trapped. The only parts that will be bricked in are the tourist parts (11. 39-40), yet the reason for the tourism is suggested to be because we will become the first slum of Europe (1. 41).
The normalization of the importance of the countryside is unnecessary, as the dales re not depressed areas; move / Your works to the unspoiled dales (Grey area grants)! (11. 29-30). Larkin can also be seen to refer here to how governments have failed to maintain green areas, as now the green is grey due to industry and commerce. Larking use of semi colons increases the fluidity of the verse, and the fast rhythm, appearing casual, reflects the speed of change and the carelessness which the poet sees all around him.
Some stanzas flow into each other, reflecting his sense of an inevitable drift from a more orderly, responsible society towards the unplanned. In he fifth stanza, a sentence is finished with an ellipsis, reflecting a sense of loss and the disappearance of nature; And when / You try to get near the sea / In summer (II. 31-2). Because he does not bother to complete the sentence, it reflects how common this image is, consisting of the traffic Jams and pollution the results of commercialism’s and consumerism.
Larkin presents the view that the rising generation is marked by an increasing greed and by an increasing emphasis on profit at the expense of care for the environment. The poem ends with the apocalyptic statement, I Just think it will happen, soon (1. 51). He suggests that traditional and neglected England will only survive through memory. Even the old characteristics of poetry will be lost and neglected; that England will be gone, / The shadows, the meadows, the lanes / The gutturals, the carved choirs (11. 44-47). In literature and art, old England will only linger on (1. 7). Larkin uses language, structure and the view point of the ordinary observer, to comment on the normalization and neglect of England and its countryside. Larking poem Bedaubed is also apocalyptic, reflecting on personal extinction through death, with the self inevitably being beyond the margin of life. An Bedaubed is traditionally a musical announcement of dawn or a sunrise song. However, in contrast Larking poem is a depressing meditation on his approaching extinction. He begins with successive statements in the first person that establish an image of loneliness.
A monotonous routine is described; I work all day, and get half-drunk at night. / Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare (1. 1-2). He presents a marginal’s self, lost from the outside world. He is alone with his thoughts: when we are caught without / People or drink (11. 36-7). In Larking poetry, he often distances emotion, partly y using a rigid structure. In Bedaubed, he uses iambic pentameter as a means of imposing a structure and control to the lines and his ideas so they are not sentimental. A rhythm is forced on the poem despite the overall mood being solemn.
This regularity is due to the ten lines in each verse and the ten syllables per line reflecting composure, and keeping his ideas controlled and coherent. Unlike Going, Going, the stanzas do not flow into one another. This makes the iambic pentameter more obvious and gives the poem a factual structure. Larkin speaks of death as an everyday reality, continuously living in his thoughts, asking all thought impossible but how / And where and when I shall myself die (II. 6-7). His repetition of negatives emphasizes the lost state and nothingness of death.