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Journeyman 1

May 3, 2012

As my stats counter begins to resemble the cardiograph of a dying patient I can almost hear the continuous electronic beeping of the alarm saying it’s time for this blog to return to oblivion.  But No!  There is stuff that I haven’t done yet.  It may not need or gain an audience, but I know I need to shout into the digital darkness.  So I’ve created Journeyman.  A task to write on the theme of work for the remainder of May, with occasional mentions of me stopping smoking and drinking for this month as well.

However, for this first post I’m wanting to share Philip Larkin’s Toads which strikes the right cord for me.  It accepts that whilst there is an aspiration to only follow ones artistic ideals, real life can often provide a more prosaic experience.

TOADS (Philip Larkin)

why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?

six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison-
Just for paying a few bills!
That’s out of proportion

Lots of folk live on their wits:
Lecturers, lispers,
Losels, loblolly-men, louts –
They don’t end as paupers;

Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines –
They seem to like it.

Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets – and yet
No one actually starves.

Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that’s the stuff
That dreams are made on:

For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in my, too:
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,

and will never allow me to blarney
My way to getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All in one sitting.

I don’t say, one bodies the other
One’s spiritual truth;
But I do say it’s hard to lose either.
when you have both.


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One Comment
  1. A fine choice I thought


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