Diary of the Plague Year: Day 17 1 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin

The Importance of Elsewhere

Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home,
Strangeness made sense. The salt rebuff of speech,
Insisting so on difference, made me welcome:
Once that was recognised, we were in touch.

Their draughty streets, end-on to hills, the faint
Archaic smell of dockland, like a stable,
The herring-hawker’s cry, dwindling, went
To prove me separate, not unworkable.

Living in England has no such excuse:
These are my customs and establishments
It would be much more serious to refuse.
Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence.



The Whitsun Weddings
Faber and Faber (1964)

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 17 1 April 2020:


Woke feeling tired and below par so had a lie-in. Didn’t get up till 9.30 and not sure this was a good idea. Fast day today worse luck but I feel it must be done.

I did spend the first hour reading my poetry today it’s Philip Larkin – The Whitsun Weddings. They are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, bitter, snobbish, full of pathos and with the time-bomb of An Arundel Tomb at the end.

I had not read these poems for years and had not noticed when I read them that they are written within a very tight and formal structure. It reminded me of Shakespeare so I am going to do a bit of research.

An added bonus,  three photographs fell out – one of the window of my first flat in Camberwell, one taken through a derelict window at Castlefreke and the third a landscape photo taken in Ireland.

Just off for a walk.

The landscape photograph showing The Galley Head in the distance.

Galley Head