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Reasons For Attendance

The trumpet’s voice, loud and authoritative,
Draws me a moment to the lighted glass
To watch the dancers – all under twenty-five –
Solemnly on the beat of happiness.

– Or so I fancy, sensing the smoke and sweat,
The wonderful feel of girls. Why be out there?
But then, why be in there? Sex, yes, but what
Is sex? Surely to think the lion’s share
Of happiness is found by couples – sheer

Inaccuracy, as far as I’m concerned.
What calls me is that lifted, rough-tongued bell
(Art, if you like) whose individual sound
Insists I too am individual.
It speaks; I hear; others may hear as well,

But not for me, nor I for them; and so
With happiness. Therefor I stay outside,
Believing this, and they maul to and fro,
Believing that; and both are satisfied,
If no one has misjudged himself. Or lied.

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Poem Reasons For Attendance - Philip Larkin