Even so distant, I can taste the grief,
Bitter and sharp with stalks, he made you gulp.
The sun's occasional print, the brisk brief
Worry of wheels along the street outside
Where bridal London bows the other way,
And light, unanswerable and tall and wide,
Forbids the scar to heal, and drives
Shame out of hiding. All the unhurried day
Your mind lay open like a drawer of knives.
Slums, years, have buried you. I would not dare
Console you if I could. What can be said,
Except that suffering is exact, but where
Desire takes charge, readings will grow erratic?
For you would hardly care
That you were less deceived, out on that bed,
Than he was, stumbling up the breathless stair
To burst into fulfilment's desolate attic.
from my Goodreads review:
a painful one, about rape. However, the last line, "To burst into fulfilment's desolate attic", feels tragic in a more universal way, and warns of the hidden bleakness of any sort of presumed fulfillment -- in love, career, life -- which honestly just about sums up Larkin's less cheerful poems. (Incidentally, this line was also mentioned by the author in the introduction to Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis, in which the author recalls a bout of depression that coincided the publication of a bestselling novel; the context may differ from that of the poem, but the use of that specific line feels apt.)