- The Whitsun Weddings (poem)
"The Whitsun Weddings" is one of the best known poems by UK poet
Philip Larkin, and was published in the 1964 collection of the same name.
The poem comprises eight verses of ten lines, making it one of his longest poems. The rhyming scheme is "a,b,a,b,c,d,e,c,d,e" - (a rhyme scheme used in various of
Larkin describes a stopping-train journey through East Yorkhire from Paragon Station, Kingston upon Hull, where Larkin was a librarian at the university) to Kings Cross, London on a hot Whitsun Saturday afternoon in the late 1950s. At each stop, Larkin becomes aware the train is being joined by parties of newly-weds.
Larkin comments on their dress, hopeful chatter, and possible aspirations. In the concluding verse there is a reference to the Christian significance of Whitsun ("all the power that being changed can give") and the memorable final lines: '...We slowed again,:And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled:A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower:Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.'
Commentatorswho|date=May 2008 have variously seen in these final lines elements of sexual imagery, of renewal, and of eventual failure of some of the marriages.
List of poems by Philip Larkin
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09400a.htm Whitsunday Entry in the Catholic Dictionary]
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