Sad Steps

A poem by Philip Larkin

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part the thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness.

Four o'clock: wedge-shaped gardens lie
Under a cavernous, a wind-pierced sky.
There's something laughable about this,

The way the moon dashes through the clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

High and preposterous and separate--
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

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