I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now…
Thanks, Phil! Philip Larkin’s late, uncollected “Aubade”—now explained on Rap Genius—is one of the most wonderfully depressing and terrifying poems in the English language. Mainly, it’s about death. Death, death, death. Death as a hopeless philosophical quandary. Death as the end of our relationship with loved ones, and with ourselves. Death as a friendly local postman who won’t let rain, snow, sleet, or dark of night prevent him from completing his rounds.
But! If there’s a saving grace amidst all the deathiness, it lies in what we leave behind: the “intricate rented world” to which Larkin pays tribute at the end of the poem. I’m sorry, that’s the “uncaring intricate rented world.” In Larkin poems, silver linings are always a little tarnished.