10 of the most famous poems in the English Literature (VIII)

Hello readers! Today we bring you a poem with a naughty opening line containing a four letter word, yes, that one… f***! While the first line of a poem isn not the most important for the whole poem to work, it can often guide whether a reader keeps reading through to the end.  Have a look at the first line of today’s poem now…go go! scroll down! …

Now, what do you think? Do you think parents shape their children’s personality? For good or for bad? Maybe for both? Let’s see if you have a change of heart after reading the whole poem.

This be the verse

Poet: Philip Larkin

Published: 1971

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.


Quick fact:

Without doubt the naughtiest opening line in poetry, the first line of Larkin’s ‘This Be the Verse’ sees Larkin speaking to us in a bluff, blokey, colloquial voice which later gives way to a more thoughtful and lyrical tone, meditating on how our parents shape us into the sort of people we become.

If you want to read more about the author, click here. And if you want to read an analysis of the poem click here.

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