The Explosion

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May 2010

Nomination: The Explosion [5 January 1970. From High Windows]

Speeding up to my sixth decade, months away now, alas not years, I find Larkin’s observations on his transit through life are even more poignant (‘The Winter Palace’, ‘Days’, ‘I have started to say’, ‘Aubade’). I also married on 24th May 1969 (a ‘Whitsun Wedding’) my bride 18 and I at 17, we celebrated our 40th anniversary in May 2009. However, being the Son and Grandson of a Yorkshire miner, the one Larkin poem that provokes clear recall and all the emotions that that act evokes is ‘The Explosion’ (1970). The childhood that helped build this man was spent in the shadows of those slagheaps, sharing the polluted air, muck, laughter and tragedy of a close knit mining community.

Graham Ibbeson

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