To My Wife

Choice of you shuts up that peacock-fan

The future was, in which temptingly spread

All that elaborative nature can.

Matchless potential!  But unlimited

Only so long as I elected nothing;

Simply to choose stopped all ways up but one,

And sent the tease-birds from the bushes flapping,

No future now.  I and you now, alone.


So for your face I have exchanged all faces,

For your few properties bargained the brisk

Baggage, the mask-and-magic-man’s regalia.

Now you become my boredom and my failure,

Another way of suffering, a risk,

A heavier-than-air hypostasis.


Philip Larkin, March 1951, Collected Poems