Happy Birthday to Philip Larkin. No doubt he would have hated birthdays, miserable bugger that he was.
The great poems like ‘The Whitsun Weddings’ and ‘Aubade’ no doubt recommend themselves without any mention from me, but here is one of my favourites, a poem not often mentioned but great in its own exquisite way.
Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.
As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth's immeasureable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.