We were all brought up to revere the war poets such as Owen and Sassoon. Quite rightly so, for their message still has an undying resonance. If I had to choose one poem, however, to sum up the devastation and waste of The Great War, I would turn to a man who never fought in the conflict, but whose perception and vision have made this a classic. Like Betjeman’s work, it is direct, accessible and heartbreaking. Philip Larkin’s poem captures the last August of an England that had already begun to change. It would never, ever, be the same again.
Leave a Reply