Home is so Sad

by Emily

Philip Larkin

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

I’ve always associated Larkin with his poem about parents, but never bothered to read further. Then Kinzie referenced him in her Guide and I’m remembering why I love his work so much.

Kinzie uses his poem as an example of fragments and their effectiveness, asserting that Larkin uses the minimal form to “emphasize the diminished hardness and wistful visibility of the things referred to.” I certainly feel the sense of nostalgia he’s creating with the images he’s chosen. Do you?