By Philip Larkin
Coming up England by a different line
For once early in the cold new year,
We stopped, and watching men with number- plates
Sprint down the platform to familiar gates,
‘Why, Coventry!’ I exclaimed I was born here.
I leant far out, and squinnied for a sign
That this was still the town that had been mine
So long but found I wasn’t even clear
Which side was which. From where those cycle- crates
Were standing, had we annually departed
For all those family hols?…. A whistle went:
Things moved I sat back, staring at my boots.
‘Was that’, my friend smiled, ‘where you “have your roots”?
No only where my childhood was unspent.
I wanted to rotort, just where I started:
By now I’ve got the whole place clearly charted..
Our garden, first: where I did not invent
Blinding theologies of flowers and fruits,
And wasn’t spoken to by an old hat.
And here we have that splendid family
I never ran to when I got depressed.
The boys all biceps and the girls all chest,
Their comic Ford, their farm where I could be
‘Really myself’ I’ll show you, come to that,
The bracken where I never trembling sat,
Determined to go through with it, where she
Lay back, and ‘all became a burning mist’
And, in those offices, my doggerel
Was not set up in blunt ten- point, nor read
By a distinguished cousin of the mayor,
Who didn’t call and tell my father There
Before us, had we the gift to see ahead –
‘You look as if you wished the place in Hell’.
My friend said, ‘judging from your face’. ‘Oh well.
I suppose it’s not the place’s fault, I said.
‘Nothing, like something, happens anywhere.
George Herbert IGNOUassignment poem summary Sylvia Plath The Waste Land