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Saturday, May 11, 2013

11 May 2013

We find ourselves at another Sardonic Saturday on The Daily Quota.
Every Saturday we play Devil's Advocate to all the positivists out there - and discuss topics that are sure to dampen your delusional, cheery outlook on life.

Then, we make you thank us for doing so.

Today's Daily Quota is a poem by Philip Larkin titled Ignorance
Here, Larkin takes a nice, swift punch at the ignorance of humanity as a whole. He pokes fun at how we do not even know the extent of our own ignorance, and how our efforts seem to be dedicated to trivial or mundane 'imprecisions' of life.
This ignorance, it seems, we carry all the way to the grave.

The beauty of this piece lies in its satire, which is hidden deep within the turn of phrase.
For instance, in the first few lines, the narrator is perplexed at just how much he doesn't know. This appears somewhat comical because the narrator is ignorant of his own ignorance.

Here are some descriptions of Larkin's poetry from his Wikipedia page:
Larkin's poetry has been characterized as combining "an ordinary, colloquial style", "clarity", a "quiet, reflective tone", "ironic understatement" and a "direct" engagement with "commonplace experiences", while Jean Hartley summed his style up as a "piquant mixture of lyricism and discontent"

Check out the full poem below:

Strange to know nothing, never to be sure
Of what is true or right or real,
But forced to qualify or so I feel,
Or Well, it does seem so:
Someone must know.

Strange to be ignorant of the way things work:
Their skill at finding what they need,
Their sense of shape, and punctual spread of seed,
And willingness to change;
Yes, it is strange,

Even to wear such knowledge - for our flesh
Surrounds us with its own decisions -
And yet spend all our life on imprecisions,
That when we start to die
Have no idea why.

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