I found this again as an earlier blog and his late poem, Aubade reminds me once more of Larkin’s enduring appeal. He is deeply attached to anxiety! Here the anxiety is primarily directed towards personal obliteration and extinction. The poetry endeavours to occupy the space where the poet fears he will no longer be. Thus poetry tries to assuage this primal fear of mortality, assuaging too the creeping sense of rejection that also permeates so many of Larkin’s poems.
Rooms and lonely evenings are scattered like dismal confetti throughout Larkin.They testify to his recurring sense of the individual’s lostness even in the midst of the community and specifically, the family. Here the drunken insomniac faces the inevitability of extinction, as dawn indifferently arrives illuminating bleakly that which we all pretend to deny; we live from day to day on the cusp of nothingness.
I have always admired the devasting simplicity of
‘this is a special way of being afraid.’
For what is Larkin acknowledging here? Our wasted anxieties over trivia and the falsity of our earlier fears? The tone itself seems exhumed from the depths of human experience so that like Macbeth in his last Act, all is known, all is lost. We go on. We wait. ‘A small unfocused blur.’ Something just there, within vision, yet unseen…stalking us all…
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