On the few occasions Larkin explained why he wrote poetry, he did so in the most humdrum, almost DIYish, terms. Speaking on the BBC Overseas Service in 1958, he put it as simply as this: “If I must account for it, I think it would be best described as the only possible reaction to a particular kind of experience, a feeling that you are the only one to have noticed something, something especially beautiful or sad or significant. Then there follows a sense of responsibility, responsibility for preserving this remarkable thing by means of a verbal device that will set off the same experience in other people, so that they too will feel How beautiful, how significant, how sad, and the experience will be preserved.”
This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another's throats. Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can, And don't have any kids yourself.