TP logo

| Books | Music | Events | New work | Contact & ordering

Lay for the Day
9th August

1922: the poet Philip Larkin is born in the English Midlands city of Coventry.

from Bay


We finger in our affirmers a hollow centre –
they feared so much they had to make up such a lot –
and feel slip through at the heart of negation
a marble nub of substance.

Will I be or when will I be shed
of childhood’s pink slim slippiness,
that unerring urge towards what shall be
growing up should rid you of, fulfill?

From fantasies provided to grow out of
lie no outlets, ways of growing into,
and we collapse like balloons
then set our lips to ourselves again.

Mother, father failed –
O find another friend
to play the playful parts between your struts.
O friend, if I offend

take my right hand,
peel off the pink thin glove,
for sentimental detachments leave no fingerprints,
however assiduously inked.

John Gibbens
from Bay

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar