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Next, Please

November 2013

Nomination: Next, Please [16 January 1951]

The title although appropriate to its subject, almost does a disservice to the poem. This banal Next, Please, having associations with dreary commercial and bureaucratic exchanges is not much of an invitation to read.

Once Larkin has us at the edge of the cliffs however, we remember so well the hours spent waiting for the teasing armada to dock and unload its cargo of opportunity. How loudly this message chimes for those of us who regularly submit to poetry journals and who must wait months for a reply. Will one’s work ever be considered for a collection?

I am certainly guilty of investing too much mental effort in anticipation of the future and too little in appreciating the riches of the now.

But it’s not just a matter of strong recognition. The final stanza is so cinematic and chilling. The black-sailed unfamiliar, the birdless silence..

Like so much of Larkin, one is left depressed yet thrilled at the same time.

Ross Jackson

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