Even so distant, I can taste the grief,
a box of teak, a box of sandalwood,
the eye can hardly pick them out
down stucco sidestreets.
What are days for?
Like the train’s beat,
the horns of morning,
to wake and hear the cock.
Within the dream you said
They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
words as plain as hen-birds’ wings
those long uneven lines
beyond all this; the wish to be alone
groping back to bed after a piss
her hands intend no harm
hurrying to catch my Comet.
All I remember is
a woman has ten claws.
Who called love conquering?
(A cento using Larkin first lines)