The Explosion

On the day of the explosion
Shadows pointed towards the pithead:
In thesun the slagheap slept.

Down the lane came men in pitboots
Coughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke
Shouldering off the freshened silence.

One chased after rabbits; lost them;
Came back with a nest of lark's eggs;
Showed them; lodged them in the grasses.

So they passed in beards and moleskins
Fathers brothers nicknames laughter
Through the tall gates standing open.

At noon there came a tremor; cows
Stopped chewing for a second; sun
Scarfed as in a heat-haze dimmed.

The dead go on before us they
Are sitting in God's house in comfort
We shall see them face to face--

plian as lettering in the chapels
It was said and for a second
Wives saw men of the explosion

Larger than in life they managed--
Gold as on a coin or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them

One showing the eggs unbroken.

by Philip Larkin

Other poems of LARKIN (93)

Comments (2)

A compelling poem, however i must disagree with the previous statement. This poem shows a great amount of what can almost be seen as disgust by Larkin at the amount of heed paid to the lives of these men. Yes, he does imply that they should be remember but he states clearly that we are seen as merely a second in time to the vast expanse of nature when he states 'At noon there came a tremor; cows / Stopped chewing for a second'. Larkin is commenting on the harmony which we, as humans, believe we have with nature when in fact we disturb the silence along with the natural order by removing things such as nests. I could expand this more with the time and speak about the significance placed on religion, but this statement gives an overall view of my opinion. Feel free to disagree
A jolting poem about the scenario before and after the explosion. It stirs us as a good poem should and compell us to thought upon the disasters of H-Bombs and the horrors of war which swallows the beauty of nature and natural.