The Inevitable Nothingness. Poetry offers us the unique opportunity to capture a moment in time. From there, we can take this moment, flip it over and around in our hands to look at it from all sides and angles. Using words to evoke visions and emotions in the reader, and rhyme to structure and engage, we transform this moment from a small piece of time to a lasting impression set into our minds. Poets also can take their own personal thoughts, experiences, and questions and write them in such a way as to make them comprehensible and relevant to millions of others.
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As one who has never bothered with poetry,I found "Aubade" by accident after reading the Big Issue magazine's "Letter to my younger self - Ian McEwan". What a wonderful expression of my feelings, and many thanks for the explanations. Monday, 21 December Aubade, by Philip Larkin.
Philip Larkin was undoubtedly one of the greatest English poets of the late 20 th century. He is generally regarded as a pessimist, who tackled issues of loneliness, old age and death head-on and offered few words of comfort. However, this is probably an over-simplification in that Larkin was, above all, a realist who offered an uncompromising and honest view of the world as he saw it, tough-mindedly and without self-delusion. An aubade is traditionally a song or poem that greets the dawn, and usually has a love theme involving lovers parting as dawn breaks.
The first stanza sets the scene of the poet lying awake in bed at four in the morning, having worked all the previous day and then gone to bed half-drunk. Although Larkin was only 55 when he wrote Aubade, and he had another eight years to live, he was drinking heavily and was well on the way to becoming an alcoholic.
This accounts for why he wrote so little poetry in the last decade of his life. He also saw the age of 50 as a turning point after which life had nothing to offer. A third cause for melancholy was the death of his mother, which was either imminent or recent at the time when he was writing Aubade which took a considerable time.
It is clear that this sensation is not just a passing trick of the mind but something that absorbs him completely. The fourth stanza takes the reader out of the immediate environment of the dark bedroom to make more general statements. His daily life and by extension that of his readers is damaged by the constant reminders.
It is also interesting to note that Larkin is only stable when in company or drunk; without one he needs the other. The only purpose behind a stoical attitude is to make other people feel better and cannot affect oneself, so there is no point in making the effort. Some might regard this as selfishness, others as healthy appreciation of reality. One side will have to go. The point was made earlier that a medieval aubade was often a song sung as lovers departed at dawn. Is the knowledge that he must die the one thing that persuades him to get up and carry on living?
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A Short Analysis of Philip Larkin’s ‘Aubade’
Such a great read, I love how deeply he dives into his thoughts. Imagine, waking everyday thinking about Death being one day closer That kinda thinking is likely to bring it on sooner! Why not stop focussing so far ahead just to avoid the gift of the present
An aubade is a morning love song as opposed to a serenade , intended for performance in the evening , or a song or poem about lovers separating at dawn. In the strictest sense of the term, an aubade is a song sung by a departing lover to a sleeping woman. Aubades were written from time to time in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 20th century the focus of the aubade shifted from the genre's original specialized courtly-love context into the more generalized theme of a human parting at daybreak. In this reformulated context several notable aubades were published in the 20th century, such as "Aubade" by Philip Larkin. In , the French composer Emmanuel Chabrier composed an "Aubade" for piano solo, inspired by a four-month visit to Spain. In postmodern dancer and choreographer Douglas Dunn presented a piece titled Aubade , with costumes, video and lighting by Charles Atlas , and poetry by Anne Waldman.
Although the meditation in the poem takes place during the early hours of the morning, there is none of the celebratory zest found so often in poetic aubades. He had begun the poem in , the year that his final collection High Windows appeared, but he laid it aside and returned to it three years later, in the summer of Most of the time, awareness of our own deaths — and of their inevitability — hovers just on the edge of vision, in the corner of our minds, as it were. The outlines of the furniture in his bedroom begins to take shape in the growing light of dawn, and the truth of the matter — his own sure and certain extinction — comes into shape as plainly and solidly as the wardrobe in the room. There is something consolatory about it, for all its bleakness. But some analysis of the images and language Larkin uses reveals new layers to this poem of stark hopelessness.
No line in the poem is happy. Novice student readers find it repellent. The way a crow shook down on Robert Frost the dust of snow from a hemlock tree once rescued Frost from a day he had rued. It is a poem that begs to be memorized. I love exclaiming my lines while walking the always deserted back road outside our summer house on the Bay of Fundy. The words are a choir of beautiful sound, a ballet of divine movement, an open secret in which I may participate.