The poem I am responding to is “Aubade,” which is written by Philip Larkin. I looked up the definition of the word Aubade on dictionary. com, and it said that an Aubade is a song or poem of or about lovers separating at dawn. It is also defined as a song or instrumental composition concerning, accompanying, or evoking daybreak. Stanza One: The speaker hints that he is at home in his bed. “Waking at the four to soundless dark, I stare. ” He wakes up in the middle of the night, and can’t go back to sleep. In time the curtain edges will grow light. ” The poem is written in first person, so I’m assuming that the author is the speaker as well, but I could be wrong. (For some reason, I am inclined to refer to the speaker as a “he. ”) At this point, the man is lying in bed, pondering death, which is “A whole day nearer now. ” The only thing he can focus on now is dying, “Making all thought impossible but how and where and when…” he will die. It seems to me as if he’s wasting his life worrying about dying… oh the irony!
Stanza Two: “The mind blanks at the glare,” (the glare of death? ), not because he is remorseful, not because of his lost time, not because he may never have a chance to right his wrongs, but because he is destined to disappear. “Not to be here, not to be anywhere. ” Apparently, the man isn’t religious because he believes he’s just going to disappear, like a flame being blown out, instead of his soul living on in another life. Stanza Three: “Religion used to try, the vast moth-eaten brocade created to pretend we never die. He believes religion was created only to soften the blow of death and convince people they won’t really die. Perhaps it was only created to give us a purpose. Here is where I can identify just a bit with the speaker because I often go through periods of weakness myself, and I convince myself of this very thing. “No rational being can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing that this is what we fear. ” Some people think that you shouldn’t fear death because you supposedly cannot feel it. However, this concept is what scares the speaker the most.
Can you imagine not seeing or touching, or hearing? Not thinking? Not being? Wouldn’t you rather only feel pain that not feel anything at all? In line 29, Gunn writes “Nothing to love or link with. ” This seems to be a reference to relationships. Up until this point, the speaker seems to be a lonely, negative obsessed man. Now we see that perhaps, he isn’t as crazy as previously believed. He is capable of love, of having a relationship with someone. He’s just a normal person. He could be your neighbor, your best friend, or even you.
Stanza Four: “A sanding chill that slows each impulse down to indecision. Most things will never happen, this one will. ” I believe that what he’s saying is people hesitate before they act upon certain impulses because they could hurt themselves. Most things they fear will happen to them really won’t, but regardless of their hesitation, they will eventually die. “Being brave lets no one off the grave. Death is no different whined at than withstood. ” It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you fight your hardest or go calmly, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
End of story. You might as well take it with dignity than whine about it. I think that’s a bit ironic as well since it seems like this whole poem is the speaker whining about dying. Stanza Five: The sun has finally risen, and the man’s room is illuminated. “All the uncaring intricate rented world begins to rouse…. the sky…with no sun…work has to be done…postmen like doctors go from house to house. ” I believe this stanza is him accepting his fate. The world is going to go on without you if you die.