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Larkin’s poetry often relates to the social and cultural views upon love and marriage in his time, love is an unusual theme in Larkin’s poetry as his poems normally result to a recurring theme of death. ‘An Arundel Tomb’ expresses Larkin’s views on love; it mirrors the ambiguity and paradox of love and life. However Abse on the other hand delivers a different approach, he for see’s love as a special and unique that lies between him and his family.
The theme of love is presented in many of Larkin’s poems “An Arundel Tomb” is a key poem portraying the theme of love.
The observer adopts the idea of the Latin names around the base as something surviving throughout time . Does he really mean the Latin language? Or is giving the reader and open-ended interpretation meaning love will survive. The observer uses an oxymoron “stationary voyage” to emphasize something moving but staying still, this could be interpreted as time passing but their love for one another is neverforgotten.
“Such plainness of the pre-baroque Hardly involves the eye, until it meets his left-hand gauntlet, still clasped empty in the other; and one sees, with a sharp tender shock, His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.
” The poem uses powerful imagery which relates and mirrors the ambiguity and paradox of love and life. “Hand withdrawn, holding her hand” this emphasizes a romantic sentimental image. “Side by side, the faces blurred uses caesura to add emphasis to their “faces blurred” which although it creates the image of erosion it also creates an image although they are dead something is still there, and that “something” is the love they share.
Throughout the poem the observer does not mention the word Love, However by the end of the poem it is some sort of realisation in the sense that he almost believes that the feeling of love is still there “almost-instinct almost true. What will survive of us is love. ” He the observer is emphasizing the point that even though time may blur and change, love will always survive in us. Abse on the other hand is very emotional and expressive with his love, especially towards his family. His poem “The Malham Bird” suggests how life is full of love.
This poem we know is written personally to his wife we know this as it says ‘for Joan’ his wife, whom he lost in a car crash, throughout the poem he tends to reflect to “our” and “we” in the sense that he is reminiscing; he is remembering the moments they shared together full of love. The title of the poem “The Malham bird” has some significance, a Malham bird is the bird of Eden, the bird who obeyed the commandant not to eat of the forbidden fruit and so it lives forever in paradise.
“That long summer a clarity of marvels yet no morning News announced the great world ” he is in emphasising the time they were falling in love, and the imagery used here to reflect their happiness ” long summer” could represent their longing happiness. “In love- you a Gentile and I a Jew! ” this line places more emphasis on a loving marriage not their religion and how nothing was able to get in between him. This is significant in the fact that religion was very important at this time, and for him to say that not even religion could get in the way of their relationship portrays his love for his wife.
“In Wales, the tame seagull that seemed a portent a love message, as if Dafydd’s ghost had sent it? ” this describes fate, and how their love was meant to be. Larkin portrays a different kind of love in “Sidney Bechet” music replaces love in Larkin’s life because it requires no commitment and gives him pleasure, therefore it falls upon him like “an enormous yes” emphasising his love for music. Larkin feels in control of music, as he does with his poetry. Sidney himself was a jazz musician, and this seems to be a dedication to him from Larkin.
‘That note you hold’ could suggest both musically, but also could suggest care and control and reflect his love for his music as he feels free. The end to this poem, I think, suggests that “the natural noise of good” is his jazz music that makes him feel relaxed and comfortable. Yet I think the last sentence is typical Larkin negativity “Scattering long-haired grief and scored pity. ” Suggesting that the music takes pitty on him, music is the only thing he can call his own in his life.
In addition to this poem Larkin also expresses his love for music in “Love songs in Age” Larkin a lover of music realised music was the way to escape the fear of boredom of life “the certainty of time laid up in store” music accompanies us at different stages of life and is very powerful. Larkin further contrasts with Abse’s poem “imitations” Abse is expressing his love for his son, using powerful imagery following full stops allowing the sentences to run into each other “my son and I. The other side of the glass snowflakes whitewash the shed roof and the grass this surprised April.
” Abse’s poetry is personal to him as he uses “my” and “I” whereas Larkin uses observer’s ideas and never his own. “My soft diamond, my deciduous evergreen” Abse has used an oxymoron here to represent his love towards his son and how his relationship is not quite one or the other but n between. “The age my cool soon” here is emphasising how he is proud of him; also how he sees the link that bit of him is in his son. The end of the poem emphasises his love for his son “while two white butterflies stumble held each to each, as if by elastic, and pass.
” This represents his sadness and how his son is “blossoming” and how they will go their separate ways. Overall, Larkin and Abse both portray and discuss their views on love throughout their poems; however they differ in the sense that Abse helps us form an understanding of how Larkin expresses his love about music and how he demonstrates a different approach to Abse. Abse’s poems tend to express his love about his family whereas Larkin expresses his way to escape from boredom and fear through his love for music as seen in “Sidney Bechet”.
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