Home Is So Sad, Philip Larkin
Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped in the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft.
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.
Depressing, no? It's typical Larkin: beautifully written, confrontational, elliptic. It's the antithesis of holiday cheer.
Anyway, to honor the 23rd anniversary of Larkin's death, I'm offering something that would probably make Larkin's stomach turn: a good recipe for latkes! It's well known that it's hard to hate life when your stomach is full of fried potatoes.
I like to think that Larkin would actually have enjoyed eating the potato pancakes, but enjoyed them even more as the excuse to write a poem about the familial disillusionment and sordid despair that lies behind the homely smells of salt, oil, and onions. What follows, then, are Larkin Latkes. Delicious, but a little complicated.