I Remember, I Remember

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

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