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Posts Tagged ‘Philip Larkin’

In Philip Larkin’s celebrated poem “Church Going,” a secular Englishman, out for a ride on his bicycle, stops at a local parish church. After making sure that “there’s nothing going on,” he steps inside, casting a cool but observant eye on what he encounters:

             Another church: matting, seats, and stone,

            And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut

            For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff

            Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;

            And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,

            Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off

            My cycle-clips in awkward reverence . . . [1]

As can be seen from these perceptions, Larkin’s narrator is ill at ease in his surroundings. They are musty and make him tense. Yet, as he will inform us later on, he was drawn to this “cross of ground” and its “unignorable” silence. And though he summons an ironic phrase (“up at the holy end”) to bolster his resistance, he attempts a gesture of respect. (more…)

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