The Unbeatable Slow Machine

Toads

by Philip Larkin

Why should I let the toad work

Squat on my life?

Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork

And drive the brute off?

 

Six days of the week it soils

With its sickening poison –

Just for paying a few bills!

That’s out of proportion.

 

Lots of folk live on their wits:

Lecturers, lispers,

Losers, loblolly-men, louts-

They don’t end as paupers;

 

Lots of folk live up lanes

With fires in a bucket,

Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-

They seem to like it.

 

Their nippers have got bare feet,

Their unspeakable wives

Are skinny as whippets – and yet

No one actually starves.

 

Ah, were I courageous enough

To shout, Stuff your pension!

But I know, all too well, that’s the stuff

That dreams are made on:

 

For something sufficiently toad-like

Squats in me, too;

Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,

And cold as snow,

 

And will never allow me to blarney

My way of getting

The fame and the girl and the money

All at one sitting.

 

I don’t say, one bodies the other

One’s spiritual truth;

But I do say it’s hard to lose either,

When you have both.

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About bgm1969

This blog is updated by a guy who’s overweight, silly, Liberal, spiritual rather than religious, infatuated with beauty and grace, musically blessed, and always changing.

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