A summary of Larkin’s last great poem
An aubade – the term is from the French – is a song or poem in praise of the dawn, but Philip Larkin’s ‘Aubade’ is somewhat different. Although the meditation in the poem takes place during the early hours of the morning, there is none of the celebratory zest found so often in poetic aubades. Instead, Philip Larkin’s ‘Aubade’ is a poem about death, and specifically the poet’s own growing sense of his mortality. You can read ‘Aubade’ here; in this post we offer some notes towards an analysis of this, the last great poem Larkin ever wrote.
Philip Larkin completed ‘Aubade’ in November 1977, and the poem was published in the Times Literary Supplement on 23 December – ruining quite a few Christmas dinners, as Larkin himself predicted. He had begun the poem in 1974, the year that his final collection
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