Money. Friday Night at the Hotel
Two by

Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
  "Why do you let me lie here wastefully?
I am all you never had of goods and sex,
  You could get them still by writing a few cheques."

So I look at others, what they do with theirs:
  They certainly don't keep it upstairs.
By now they've a second house and car and wife:
  Clearly money has something to do with life

--- In fact, they've a lot in common, if you enquire:
  You can't put off being young until you retire,
And however you bank your screw, the money you save
  Won't in the end buy you more than a shave.

I listen to money singing. It's like looking down
  From long French windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canal, the churches ornate and mad
  In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.


Friday Night at the
Royal Station Hotel
Light spreads darkly downwards from the high
Clusters of lights over empty chairs
That face each other, coloured differently.
Through open doors, the dining-room declares
A larger loneliness of knives and glass
And silence laid like carpet. A porter reads
An unsold evening paper. Hours pass,
And all the salesmen have gone back to Leeds,
Leaving full ashtrays in the Conference Room.

In shoeless corridors, the lights burn. How
Isolated, like a fort, it is ---
The headed paper, made for writing home
(If home existed) letters of exile: Now
Night comes on. Waves fold behind villages.

--- © 1980 Philip Larkin

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