That Was The Verse #poem #poetry #larkin

The next poem that falls to be reinterpreted is Philip Larkin’s This Be The Verse Which has one of the more famous – maybe infamous – first lines in modern poetry…

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.

I really don’t agree with the miserablist, as will be apparent form this rewrite…

They fuck you up your mum and dad

So said that old contrarian 

But Larkin’s error is just so sad

The poor deluded librarian.


It’s glib and cheap to blame your folks

For all the crap that life throws out;

To say ‘It’s not my fault’ is jokes

However much you scream and shout.


And if you feel that out you’ve lucked

With the only life you’ll ever live

Because, perchance, they’ve up you fucked

Isn’t it about time to them forgive?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in humour, miscellany, poems, poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to That Was The Verse #poem #poetry #larkin

  1. Very good Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Love your version His Geoffleship!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is great–thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Wonderful response to that mean spirited rant.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. robbiecheadle says:

    Geoff – hahahaha! This is brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Now this is a better version than the original!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    I think Larkin is saying if you think your kids won’t blame you for some of their problems, don’t have kids. It’s the natural order of things. But you don’t dwell in it, you get out. And you’ve added the need to forgive them as a path towards taking responsibility for your own faults, no matter how you came by them. An interesting juxtaposition of viewpoints… thought provoking.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      I always find Larkin humorous but also a dyed in the wool miserablist. And one of those people who blame others. If it wasn’t for the humour I think we would have co-signed him to obscurity


  8. arlingwoman says:

    I like Larkin, but he certainly had a grim point of view. I like your take off on his poem–having gently told any number of people on the cusp of 30 that it was up to them now. But there was a poem discovered after he died that I thought really revealed his personality. Not sure it was authenticated, but it sure seemed Larkonian:
    We met at the end of the party
    When all the drinks were dead
    And all the glasses dirty:
    ‘Have this that’s left’, you said.
    We walked through the last of summer,
    When shadows reached long and blue
    Across days that were growing shorter:
    You said: ‘There’s autumn too’.
    Always for you what’s finished
    Is nothing, and what survives
    Cancels the failed, the famished,
    As if we had fresh lives
    From that night on, and just living
    Could make me unaware
    Of June, and the guests arriving,
    And I not there.

    Sad, but temperamentally so, I would say, not from any awful experiences…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Mick Canning says:

    Nice one, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Widdershins says:

    An excellent riposte. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Good rewrite with a more optimistic sentiment!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Charli Mills says:

    I like your better than the original!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Really like that one!


  14. SUNNY GULATI says:

    ha ha..a every enjoyable read…do read and comment on my poems at


  15. maansi says:

    Please visit my first blog:


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