(used as the epigraph
in my novel The Eagle Tree)
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
from Philip Larkin’s The Collected Poems (Faber, 1993), reprinted by permission of the publisher, Faber & Faber Ltd.