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POEM OF THE DAY -- "The North Ship" by Philip Larkin

Here is the first in our POEM OF THE DAY series this week featuring prominent modern British poets.  This is a classic by the great British modern poet, Philip Larkin -- basically the classic "Title Track" to the 33 poem series entitled "The North Ship".  It was written in 1945 and has been subject to much analyzing and speculation

We're curious -- what is your interpretation???

As with all of our featured poets, we have a book recommendation for you -- Larkins "Collected Poems" in paperback is a delightful compilation and highly recommended reading.

The North Ship

By Philip Larkin


I saw three ships go sailing by,
Over the sea, the lifting sea,
And the wind rose in the morning sky,
And one was rigged for a long journey.

The first ship turned towards the west,
Over the sea, the running sea,
And by the wind was all possessed
And carried to a rich country.

The second ship turned towards the east,
Over the sea, the quaking sea,
And the wind hunted it like a beast
To anchor in captivity.

The third ship drove towards the north,
Over the sea, the darkening sea,
But no breath of wind came forth,
And the decks shone frostily.

The northern sky rose high and black
Over the proud unfruitful sea,
East and west the ships came back
Happily or unhappily:

But the third went wide and far
Into an unforgiving sea
Under a fire-spilling star,
And it was rigged for a long journey.


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