Love by Larkin

— Philip Larkin

The difficult part of love
Is being selfish enough,
Is having the blind persistence
To upset an existence
Just for your own sake.
What cheek it may take.

And then the unselfish side –
How can you be satisfied,
Putting someone else first
So that you come off worst?
My life is for me.
As well ignore gravity.

Still, vicious or virtuous,
Love suits most of us.
Only the bleeder found
Selfish this wrong way round
Is ever wholly rebuffed,
And he can get stuffed.

It’s about give and it’s about take…

We don’t know, but we hear something and make a judgment then, we hear something else and we either become dogmatic or we reevaluate our previous perspective…

BLACKSPOT_&_ME

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

― Philip Larkin, High Windows (1974)

Point & Counterpoint

‘Philip Larkin, racist, bigot and poet’
Socialist Review
John Newsinger (2017)

‘In search of the real Philip Larkin’
The Observer
Rachel Cooke (2010)

Retrospective (adj.)

Reflecting on The Desert Rose

Alone.
A traveller in Charles de Gaulle airport, 2010, by Harry Gruyaert

DXB — fear and loathing
LGW“Like a virgin, touched for…”
HKT — a lesson & a last minute reprieve
DIA — trouble & then, togetherness

🐪🌹

Sonnet XXIII

— John Milton

Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove’s great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescu’d from death by force, though pale and faint.

Mine, as whom wash’d from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,

Came vested all in white, pure as her mind;
Her face was veil’d, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin’d
So clear as in no face with more delight.

But Oh! as to embrace me she inclin’d, I wak’d, she fled, and day brought back my night.

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Losing a lover ain’t easy…

Milton
A seminal figure in the realm of English Literature.

Innocence, Once Lost, Can Never Be Regained. Darkness, Once Gazed Upon, Can Never Be Lost.

— Read Milton’s words ^ and think: Nietzsche’s abyss!!

A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.

— From Milton’s Areopagitica

Kahlil Gibran

[Lebanese | 1883–1931]

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

Although Kahlil Gibran was born in Lebanon, he spent the last twenty years of his life in New York where, among other things, he ran a book club. By far his most famous work is The Prophet which has long been viewed as an inspirational and allegorical guide to living. First published in the 1920s, it speaks of many things central to daily life like beauty, passion love, marriage and death. It also covers the more mundane activities such as eating and working.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

^ Now, ain’t that so fucking true, you, my Secret Sharer, were indeed my most delectable of delights. Turning to another of Gibran’s sublime quotes, ain’t it so that true love can be a truly wicked game to have to play:

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.

Good god, I do Thank Nature for what we had but I do pray hard to Mother En that what we had was real. Wasn’t it? Was it all a figment of my godforsaken and troubled mind? Was it, ‘was it’ a case of the unloved captain and his imagined stowaway? Am I he and, were you all a creation of my delusion daydreaming?

Reading…

After ending my affair with a married person I’m overwhelmed with grief
— Trish Murphy (2016, November 4th) The Irish Tines

From the Irish Times
‘My heart is breaking and I am struggling not to pick up the phone if even just to hear his voice.

The Situation

I have just ended an affair with a married man that has been going on for the last number of years. It started out as a flirt and then a fling and for the sex, but we soon fell deeply in love. He is quite simply the love of my life. I am married myself but very unhappy with my husband. My lover is not unhappy in his marriage and loves his wife and family. But I know that he loves or at least he did love me, by the way he has shown that love to me, respected me and treated me like a woman but at the same time his equal. No one else has ever treated me this way, least of all my husband. We both agreed that we would not break up our marriages to be together.

It ended badly and I am largely to blame. I was very resentful of his wife and almost to punish him for being happy with her I picked fights and put distance between us when my heart and body wanted more than anything to be in his arms. In the end he ran out of patience with me. When it came to a head a lot of very unkind things were said by both of us. We have had rows before but it’s different this time because he has not tried to smooth things over as he normally would and I’m ashamed to say that even when I was in the wrong I used to let him be the one to make the running.

I know that this was wrong from the very start and should never have happened. I’m not writing to ask for absolution or seek advice as to whether or not to continue. I am writing because my heart is breaking and I am struggling not to pick up the phone to him if even just to hear his voice. The only other person I could have spoken to about this is him. He really was my soul mate. I have hurt him badly, and him me, but I know him and if I did call he would be kind and gentle and probably forgiving.

I can make myself cold and close his memory out, but not all day and not every day and when I let myself think of him and how wonderfully he treated me, I am just overwhelmed. I have never had a close bereavement but this feeling must be what grief is like. My biggest fear is that he will go through the rest of his life not knowing exactly how I feel for him, even if we are finally over.

The Council

You sound as though you are deeply in grief and the difficulty is that the lost person is not gone and you still have the opportunity of contacting him. This keeps you caught up in that possibility and perhaps the acceptance phase of the grief is eluding you.

You say your biggest fear is that your lover will not know how you feel about him but if you open up communication again, you are doing so at a lot of risk to yourself, your ex-lover and his family, and your own family. That is a huge responsibility when you know you could not handle the small part of his life that he offered you and you are likely to again demand that he choose you over his wife and children.

You sound surprised at the level of respect and dignity that you received at the behest of your lover and this begs the question of what kind of relationship you are in now. Does your own marriage need attention and decision-making and what affect is your affair and heartbreak having on your husband?

Even though you were treated well in the affair, there was never the option that you would be number one in the life of your lover and this might be something you should set as a bottom line in your current or future relationships.

To go back to your lover would be to assume a secondary role and, as you found out previously, this ultimately is not acceptable to you and unhappiness and fighting is the result. From your letter it seems that you do not feel number one in your husband’s life and he is definitely not top of your list of love.

This situation sounds intolerable and it is likely that you are causing emotional damage to each other and instead of addressing this situation you are investing in an impossible love affair. Facing into and tackling your marriage difficulties would be the first step in dealing with reality and then perhaps you might begin to create a new reality in which you can construct a relationship worth fighting for.