High Windows contains some of the poet's most famous works
High Windows, by Philip Larkin (Faber, £1.40).
Disinvolvement, decrepitude and death - these are the main themes of Philip Larkin's new volume of poems. The chill aspect of the book throws, moreover, a wintry light on "The Whitsun Weddings," his last book, published ten years ago: the poems there on subjects like faith-healing and ambulances glint out far more sharply than they did. Two impressive poems in the new book speak plainly of a feeling of exclusion from sexual happiness: the witty
Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(Which was rather late for me);
Higher than the handsomest hotel,
An air of baffled absence,
trying to be there
Yet being here.
Everything crowds under the horizon.
Cut grass lies frail:
Brief is the breath
Mown stalks exhale.
Long, long the death
It dies in the white hours
Of young-leafed June...
Gold as on a coin, or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them,
One showing the eggs unbroken.