However, it is not the traditional, vehicular sort of movement; trains and cars do not swerve. On three different occasions the word is used; each time to the same effect. By the end of the first stanza the reader can be in no doubt that Larkin is taking them on a journey. In the first stanza, and indeed in the whole poem, there is a clear theme of the industrialized world interrupting the natural, rural world. These images are marred somewhat by the traffic and workmen, and ultimately the town which emerges in the second stanza. The contrast between country and city, between rural and urban, is another key theme in the poem. To add to the contrast, Larkin lists elements of the town domes and statues Another contrast between the rural and urban settings of the poem is the differing types of movement. At this stage, Larkin is clearly critical not only of the urban population, but of their consumerist culture. Larkin presents us with another selection of images; this time of unneeded consumer goods.
Not Finding What You Need?
Larkin uses various devices such as imagery, sentence structure, punctuation and alliteration to enhance the feeling of travel for the reader, and thus make the destination more effective. At the start of the poem, Larkin creates the image of an unnamed force with which the reader is transported from place to place. The closest worldly sensation to this force would be wind. Larkin uses alliteration and sibilance to increase the fluidity of the poem, thus symbolising the constant movement of the wind, and the journey that the reader is taken on. These increase the musicality and rhythm of the poem and, in doing so, emphasize the sensation of movement that occurs throughout. Lists are used to a similar effect in the poem. Throughout the first three stanzas, we see constant asyndetons that make the sense of a constant journey more apparent in the poem.
To make your facial muscles stir from day to day
Indeed, it seems in the end to become a poem about the abolition of personality, which is subsumed into the landscape. Originally seen as a down-to-earth debunker of romantic pretentiousness the title of his second volume, The Less Deceived, is significant , he is now often compared to the great Romantics. The persona Larkin has created in his poetry and which contributes so greatly to our sense of a distinct and individual voice, no matter how disparate the forms and subject-matters of his poems, is capable of a great range and variety of emotions. We may initially identify the voice as that of a sadly humorous pessimist, like a bookish and sexually aware Eeyore, but the persona is forever revealing unexpected depths and longings. However, these moments of apparent transcendence are not always achieved through an emotional shift on the part of the persona. It is clearly another train-journey that is being described but we have no sense that the narrator is an actual passenger on the train. Indeed, one of the mysterious elements in this poem is precisely the point of view of the speaker. However, although the movement of the opening stanza seems to be carrying us unequivocally on a train-journey northwards, destined to come to a halt in a major town, the poem—and the journey—does not in fact cease there. How does the poem achieve this mysterious power to move and to disturb? It is undeniably partly due to the mastery of its structure and the wonderful sense of balance that the poet manages to maintain.
The poem describes and, in its distinctively Larkinesque way, celebrates the city of Hull, where Larkin had been working since and where he would live until his death in The effect of this alliteration is to suggest a landscape comprising clusters of things which are related, but are different from the things which surround them. It is as if this place where nothing much is happening and there is little of note to see is the last place one would expect to find a built-up urban settlement. But all of the signs of a city or town are there: domes and spires, cranes, estates — and, towards the end of this stanza, a description of the local supermarket and other stores where the residents of the town can purchase all the things they need. Finally, as we move into the fourth and final stanza, we get a full stop.