When I was first introduced to Philip Larkin, I took a violent dislike to his work. I don’t remember which school or college it was in, but I was left with an overwhelming impression of distaste as the teacher (male) deconstructed the poem Sunny Prestatyn with a leer.
I slapped an embargo on the lech Larkin and would not let his poetry past the gatepost. You can’t live life like that though; that is to say in a knee jerking, reflexive state. The reason you can’t is because it closes your mind to other possibilities; in this case some of the beauty, down amongst the dirt of Larkin. And ain’t that life, whether we like it or not? Turning our face from the facts, also removes the closest we can get to experiencing life through someone else’s feelings – something that helps to keep the heart open and the old knee jerks at bay.
Having said all that, and more than once recently I have been called a hippy, if some perving teacher tried to teach one of my daughters Sunny Prestatyn, I’d be straight down the school in a highly reflexive mood. Be warned.
It’s Sunday morning though, let’s forget the world with a little High Windows
“Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.”