Alan and Beth

They f*** you up, your Mum and Dad

My Dad used to quote the first verse of this poem to me when I was a teenager. It was his catch-all disclaimer for any parental failings I accused him of.

This Be The Verse

By PHILIP LARKIN

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.

Whenever I am taking parenting too seriously I think about this poem and it never fails to give me a smile. There is something charming and disarming about rhyme. I hope that our book (with its rhyme and all) contains some of the humourous spirit of Larkin’s poem.

Published by

Beth

Beth

Co-writer/Co-illustrator

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