Sunday antinatalist poetry: This Be the Verse

“This Be the Verse,” which might be the most famous dozen lines written by Phillip Larkin (1922-1985). Were it up to me I would have every schoolchild commit them to memory, though that will never be, and not just because of the robust use of the vernacular in the first line.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

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