My brother and I, who have both chosen not to have children of our own, recently received an email from my mother.
“Poem for you,” read the subject, and inside, only this link. No introduction, no context, even after I inquired.
I’m learning it’s best not to speculate. Regardless of her intent, I appreciate a fun poem; maybe you will too?
This Be The Verse
By Philip Larkin
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.