Things Fall Apart

Norwich 2010: a good time and place for snow, a bad time and place for my car.
Norwich 2010: a good time and place for snow, a bad time and place for my car.

Have been reading lots of maudlin poetry lately, primarily Philip Larkin, and trying to recreate the image focused bleakness that he is the master of. Here’s a poem about a car crash I had in 2010 as well as two excellent poems which capture what I want to do better than I can: Stevie Smith’s Not Waving But Drowning and Larkin’s The Mower.

Emily x

Norwich Car Accident – 8:04am, Friday November 26th 2010

Chris Evans was extolling the virtues of Friday
on BBC Radio 2.
I was basking in the potential
of a day ahead
and in having Things To Do.

When at once the car began to spin
and silence loudly surged.
The other round-abouters
swerved, panicking;
I settled neatly in the verge.

How often and easily our Things To Do change
when our tyres start to wear thin:
we cruise smoothly through suburbia
then all at once
we start to spin.

*

Not Waving But Drowning – Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking.
Playing tricks, kidding, fooling around.
And
now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him
his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.

*

The Mower – Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,

Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world

Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence

Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
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