High Windows
By Philip Larkin

All of Larkin delights me, but this is a good book to start with. Larkin didn't have great range, but the area he chose is so important it doesn't matter. His deal is making you understand that death is a total and permanent annihilation. Not the nicest news a poet can give you, but still worth knowing. He likes you to believe that the thought of death prompts nothing else in him but despair. That's not entirely true. Larkin was scared of infinity, but he was also capable of making infinity beautiful. "Rather than words comes the thought of high windows: The sun-comprehending glass, / And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows / Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless." And what a genius he was with compound phrases. Sun-comprehending!

Looks easy. Is not easy.


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