“An Roundel Tomb” was first published In The Whitish Weddings in 1964, a number of reviewers singled the poem out for comment. Christopher Rills, in The New York Review of Books, described Larkin as “the best poet England now has,” and said of the collection “people will be grateful for its best poems for a long time. ” Risks listed “An Roundel Tomb” as one of the six best poems. Praise came also from Joseph L.
Feather-stone, in New Republic, who used the last two lines of the poem to illustrate his point that “[Larkin] is especially good at gathering up the substance of a mingle slow-paced poem and concentrating it Into enormously powerful last lines, lines that echo after they are read.
” For Louis L. Mart, In The Yale Review, “An Roundel Tomb” was a “perfect poem,” and Like Featheriness he also chose to comment on the last two lines: That open utterance of the long-repressed sentiment emerges with an effect of ironic hesitation.
Our modern inference from the sculptured hands is only our own simplification of the imagery: for that other age had a broader meaning in its splutter that we can never apprehend. What remains Is our own attitude, based upon the ‘almost-instinct’ of what we wish come true. In the years that have elapsed since its publication, “An Roundel Tomb” has come to occupy an important place in Larrikin work. Almost all book-length treatments of Larrikin poetry accord ample space to an analysis of it.
Bruce Martin, in Philip Larkin, uses the poem as an example of “the preeminence of love in Larrikin scheme of values. Andrew Motion, In his biography of the poet, calls It “one of his most moving evocations of the struggle between time and human tenderness. Roger Bowen, in Death, Failure, and Survival in the Poetry of Philip Larkin, argues that “An Roundel Tomb” marks an important transition in the poet’s work, in terms of his exploration of the “meaning of death. ” In his later poems, Larkin begins to express “a view of death in relation to a world which perpetually renews itself. In this latter view … A quiet trust Is sometimes apparent, a trust in continuity, a belief in something undiminished somewhere . Which will survive beyond his Individual extinction. ” Seen In this light, An Roundel Tomb” is “an assertion about the future. A belief in some kind of spiritual survival. ” Other critics, however, have not been so ready to read the poem in such a positive light. Particular attention has been paid to the last two lines as the key to Interpretation. James Booth, In Philip Larkin: Writer, writes, “The sleight of hand whereby the final line appears to be a celebration of the transcendence which the whole sentence denies is pathetically ineffective.
It is as far as the poet can honestly go. And Andrew Carsick, in Out of Reach: The Poetry of Philip Larkin, expresses a similar view: “Their Joined hands do not represent the triumph of love over time, but our delusion wish that it might be so. ” Deterrence AT Interpretation notwithstanding, “An Roundel loom” NAS always Eden a favorite of Larkin readers. A sign of the high esteem in which it is generally held is the fact that it was one of three poems by Larkin that were read aloud at his memorial service held in Loon’s Westminster Abbey in 1986. Info from answers. Com