Motion pens Larkin paean for cancer charity appeal
Monday 07 March 2011
The former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion has written a poem in memory of Philip Larkin, the celebrated English poet who died in 1985.
The poem, titled "Legacy", describes some photographs taken by Larkin. One, he writes, features "a young man wearing a trilby hat who has settled / Into a deckchair and seen how manifold kinds of half-light / Can weave a leopard skin rug where a couple lie together".
Motion said the poem's intention was to remind people "to see the miraculous in the ordinary".
It was written for an exhibition entitled Willpower: What's Your Legacy?, which opens on Thursday at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
The exhibition has been curated by Cancer Research UK to highlight the importance of legacies in allowing the charity to continue its work in the fight to beat cancer.
The exhibition also features a poem exploring the contradictions and sincerity of love by the current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a first edition of Simon Callow's 1984 book Being an Actor, and an original hand-drawn illustration by Barbara Hulanicki.
Larkin died of oesophageal cancer at the age of 63, a year after turning down the job of poet laureate.
Motion said: "Philip Larkin's legacy to us is a refreshed sense of the need to see the miraculous in the ordinary. The lines remember that he was a gifted photographer, as well as a great poet – and in both his pictures and his writing he went to great lengths to celebrate things that are easily overlooked."
Larkin is widely considered the greatest English poet since the Second World War. His own legacy includes the notable collections The Less Deceived, The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows.
The notorious pessimist's best-remembered verse on the subject of legacy, however, is probably the final stanza of "This Be the Verse": "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."
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
Ricki And The Flash, film review: Meryl Streep's rock'n'roll creation steals the show
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Refugees welcome: More than 250,000 sign Independent petition calling for Britain to 'take its fair share'