Monday, March 26, 2012

Analysis of Philip Larkin's "Born Yesterday: For Sally Amis"

Philip Larkin

Born Yesterday: For Sally Amis

Sir Kingsley Amis and Sally Amis
Tightly-folded bud,
I have wished you something
None of the others would:
Not the usual stuff
About being beautiful,
Or running off a spring
Of innocence and love—
They will all wish you that,
And should it prove possible,
Well, you’re a lucky girl.

But if it shouldn’t, then
May you be ordinary;
Have, like other women,
An average of talents:
Not ugly, not good-looking,
Nothing uncustomary
To pull you off your balance,
That, unworkable itself,
Stops all the rest from working.
In fact, may you be dull—
If that is what a skilled,
Vigilant, flexible,
Unemphasised, enthralled
Catching of happiness is called.

Philip Larkin’s poem “Born Yesterday: For Sally Amis” is about the birth of his friend Kingsley Amis’ daughter, Sally Amis. She was born on January 17, 1954. Kingsley Amis is a British writer, whose most famous work would probably be Lucky Jim, which was published in 1954. The poem is written in free verse; the lack of rhyme in this poem makes it conversational, and puts emphasis on the rhyming couplet at the end. This poem expresses Larkin’s hopes for Sally’s future; he didn’t impose his lofty dreams upon her, instead he wished her happiness.

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