Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What will survive of us is love (if we are lucky)

I again take issue with Larkin's sentiments - if not his poetry - the memorable lines went:

Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.

He could have put it otherwise but being Larkin, he did not. My own instinct here is surely also controversial, surely concrete achievements, works of art, technical innovations, political reforms are more valuable than mere love? Bolstered I guess by my anti-materialist pietist upbringing I argue differently: actions and material achievements are nothing if they cannot be interpreted as love, the most concrete thing we can leave behind are feelings, persons touched, uplifted. All lifes are ephemeral, passing, all actions, achievements will be forgotten, all legacies spent and dispersed: but to pass unloved, unmourned is the only meaningful failure, the only undeniable evidence of a life spent in miserly frigidity.

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