The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greeness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Philip Larkin, 1967
Oh, dear Mr Larkin, that terminally melancholic librarian who weathered residencies in Leicester, Hull and Belfast; Poet Laureate
refusenik; misanthropic bachelor; we can hardly blame you for being such a miserable sod for much of your quiet, bookish life. And yet how glad we are that on a spring morning some forty years ago you woke up feeling such uncharacteristic optimism and penned ‘The Trees’. (Let’s not forget that Larkin also gave us poems about empty station platforms, toads, hospitals and Prestatyn). However, spring did appear to be, if not his favourite, his strongest seasonal muse, like so many poets before him. We may be slightly premature as far as the current weather goes (snow predicted across the UK tonight), but the cherry
blossom is already out on my street. For this, for the sheer sumptious beauty of Larkin’s words, and because it’s Kitchen Sink Dramas‘co-director Julia’s favourite poem in the world, we release our
inaugural Reading Room post into the world with some verse to defy the most winter-jaded of us all. Enjoy. It also happens to be World Book Day. Riffle some pages.
Jemma and Julia
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