English poetry

Poems in English


Whatever Happened?

At once whatever happened starts receding.
Panting, and back on board, we line the rail
With trousers ripped, light wallets, and lips bleeding.

Yes, gone, thank God! Remembering each detail
We toss for half the night, but find next day
All’s kodak-distant. Easily, then (though pale),

‘Perspective brings significance,’ we say,
Unhooding our photometers, and, snap!
What can’t be printed can be thrown away.

Later, it’s just a latitude: the map
Points out how unavoidable it was:
‘Such coastal bedding always means mishap.’

Curses? The dark? Struggling? Where’s the source
Of these yarns now (except in nightmares, of course)?

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Poem Whatever Happened? - Philip Larkin