Love's the boy stood on the burning deck
trying to recite `The boy stood on
the burning deck.' Love's the son
stood stammering elocution
while the poor ship in flames went down.

Love's the obstinate boy, the ship,
even the swimming sailors, who
would like a schoolroom platform, too,
or an excuse to stay
on deck. And love's the burning boy.

by Elizabeth Bishop

Comments (4)

The idea that Philip Larkin sterotypes anyone is very far from the truth and reveals a lack of understanding of what he is saying. This is a wonderful poem written by one of our most far-seeing and human writers.
I hope to revive comment on such a moving poem, deserted for two years! When the million-petaled flower of being here folds in, horror becomes the essence of your being, until 'foolishness' takes over. There is no mocking, no stereotype in Larkin's poem: only a worded scream of anguish. Better to die young. Of such bliss I've been deprived. Must face the ignominy of pissing my pants. How? Larkin tells me: by getting lost in not being there. It's not you, it's some old fool.
Re: last comment. OF COURSE he is afraid of getting old and dying! ! ! I don't find the tone mocking, simply a truthful observation of ageing/death as he sees it. Larkin was not young when he wrote this, so if he does use a sterotype, which I don't think he does, he would certainly be including himself. The last two sections of this poem are brilliant, moving, depressing and great poetry.
Here Larkin seems to stereotype the eldery in a mocking tone- maybe he is afraid of growing old?