Guest poem submitted by Mike Christie:
(Poem #1330) Money
Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me: 'Why do you let me lie here wastefully? I am all you never had of goods and sex. You could get them still by writing a few cheques.' So I look at others, what they do with theirs: They certainly don't keep it upstairs. By now they've a second house and car and wife: Clearly money has something to do with life - In fact, they've a lot in common, if you enquire: You can't put off being young until you retire, And however you bank your screw, the money you save Won't in the end buy you more than a shave. I listen to money singing. It's like looking down From long French windows at a provincial town, The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.
A couple of notes: "bank your screw" refers to putting your wages in the bank; this is British slang and no longer current. And the "shave" referred to is the shave you get from the mortician when you are dead, to make you look good in the coffin. There have been quite a few Larkin poems on Minstrels, but several of my favourites are missing, including this one. I like a lot of things about Larkin -- technically he is always flawless, and he can make the most intricate rhyme scheme flow effortlessly. But most of all I like his ability to find an image that is unreasonably effective. In this poem it's the last verse. I wish I knew why the town seems such an apposite image for the disease of money. And "ornate and mad"; and the last four words; both give a powerful emotional kick that I don't fully understand but that have stayed with me since I first read this twenty years ago. Mike. [Minstrels Links] Philip Larkin: Poem #178, Water Poem #73, I Remember, I Remember Poem #100, Days Poem #254, The North Ship Poem #502, MCMXIV Poem #544, Toads Poem #756, An Arundel Tomb Poem #793, No Road Poem #886, Maiden Name Poem #1070, Wires (Of these, 'Toads' has a similarish sort of theme)