Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 482
"Next, Please" is a poem by Philip Larkin that draws on the human propensity to look beyond what is current in hopes of obtaining more. It touches on the insatiable desire of humanity and the resulting crisis it can create within ourselves. He makes use of an extended metaphor, equating the image of the ship to that which is expected (future opportunities), and juxtaposing it with the sole thing that, in all certainty, draws near (death).
How slow they are! And how much time they waste,
Refusing to make haste!
Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked,Each rope distinct,Flagged, and the figurehead wit golden tits
In her wakeNo waters breed or break.
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 384
Philip Larkin’s “Next, Please” is made up of six four-line stanzas. The first three lines of each (with several exceptions) are in iambic pentameter, while the last line of each is noticeably shorter (either four or six syllables). The rhyme scheme of each of the stanzas is aabb. The poem examines the common desire many people have to focus their attention on the future instead of living in the present. Many spend their entire lives waiting for the good things the future will supposedly bring to those who faithfully wait for them. However, the poem warns its readers that such hopes will always end in disappointment, for the only thing that is certain to arrive is death. The first stanza begins by pointing out disapprovingly that “we” are “Always too eager for the future” and, as a result, “Pick up bad habits of expectancy,” living life in the hope that the future will surely make life better than it is in the present.
The next four stanzas...
(The entire section contains 1646 words.)
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