How Distant

By Philip Larkin
how-distantHow distant, the departure of young men

Down valleys, or watching

The green shore past the salt-white cordage

Rising and falling.

.

Cattlemen, or carpenters, or keen

Simply to get away

From married villages before morning,

Melodeons play

.

On tiny decks past fraying cliffs of water

Or late at night

Sweet under the differently-swung stars,

When the chance sight

.

Of a girl doing her laundry in the steerage

Ramifies endlessly.

This is being young,

Assumption of the startled century

.

Like new store clothes,

The huge decisions printed out by feet

Inventing where they tread,

The random windows conjuring a street.

 

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