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The Explosion

January 2003

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

You really could not accuse Larkin of being Religious. To prove the point, he did read the Bible from cover-to-cover (over several months, each morning, while shaving – and not just any Bible – a £150 Oxford lectern Bible) before dismissing it as balls (beautiful balls, but still balls).

Larkin’s belief in complete effacement at death was rarely stated as less than absolute. One can agree (I do) or demur. It does not seem to inhibit Larkin from feeling fully for those from whom we have been cut off – whether a rabbit (‘Myxomatosis’) or miners – a body of people not notably among his usual sympathies.

In this, his response to a TV documentary about a distant mining disaster, he shows others’ experience may be both different from his and still be valid.

He just may have been prepared to admit to being moved even beyond the ‘almost true, what will survive of us’, with the almost unbearable …

‘One showing the eggs unbroken’.

David Rees

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