This Be the Verse

Painting by Gabriel von Max: Pithecanthropus europaeaus alalus (c. 1894)

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.

Philip Larkin, 1971
Collected Poems

Painting by Gabriel Cornelius von MaxPithecanthropus europaeaus alalus (c. 1894)

2 thoughts on “This Be the Verse

  1. I was once told by a man wiser and older than I am – that your children will inherit your worst traits.

    He was right. Now I try to convince them that I’m the voice from their future. But we never listen to ourselves either, do we? 🙂

    – Jeff

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