Philip Larkin

Negative Indicative

Never to walk from the station's lamps and laurels Carrying my father's lean old leather case Crumbling like the register at the hotel; Never to be shown upstairs To a plain room smelling of soap, a towel Neatly hung on the back of a rush chair, The floor uneven, the grate choked with a frill, Muslin curtains hiding the market square; Never to visit the lame girl who lives three doors Down Meeting-House Lane — 'This pile is ready; these I shall finish tonight, with luck' — to watch, as she pours Tea from a gold-lined jubilee pot, her eyes, Her intelligent face; never, walking away As light fails, to notice the first star Pulsing alone in a long shell-coloured sky, And remember the year has turned, and feel the air Alive with the emblematic sound of water —

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