Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mr Bleaney?

I wonder whether I now might be older than Mr Bleaney – how old was Larkin when he wrote the poem?  Surely quite young, and still, well, very Larkinesque. I suspect on some level he always saw himself as a Bleaneyan figure, Bleaney Agonistes... Which, if so, would have been totally bizarre as we are talking  about one of the foremost poets of his generation. But “success” is not an objective concept and in any case, in the end surely we all will fail, and all but the most too well wadded to realize it. There is no permanent achievement here, no success to compare with the failure.

Here is the Finnish Pietist in me talking: I surely have gotten one of the least materialist and least ambitious world views as a family inheritance. Though it could have been worse, certainly much worse, and not much better. But as to achievement, being already past Bleaney (I think he must have been in his early 40's), there is prescious little to show. Lots of various stuff, some interesting, some even impressive, certainly, but little in the way of worldly success, and children hardly count as a life achievement, as desperately loved as they are, but as independent persons to be protected and sheltered, not to act as one's raison d'être.

I cannot really denounce this inheritance though, not finally: the things achievable here pale into insignificance with the things unachievable. To have material success in this world rather tells against you instead of for. Maybe Larkin fundamentally did know this, behind the misery there might be other things, closely guarded. Him being an artist and all.

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