The Journey Back
Larkin’s shade surprised me. He quoted Dante:
“Daylight was going and the umber air
Soothing every creature on the earth,
Freeing them from their labors everywhere.
I alone was girding myself to face
The ordeal of my journey and my duty
And not a thing had changed, as rush-hour buses
Bore the drained and laden through the city.
I might have been a wise king setting out
Under the Christmas lights—except that
It felt more like a forewarned journey back
Into the heartland of the ordinary.
Still my old self. Ready to knock one back.
A nine-to-five man who had seen poetry.
by Seamus Heaney
from Seeing Things
Faber & Faber, 1991