Born Yesterday by Philip Larkin

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About the poet:

  • English poet
  • oxford graduate
  • wrote bulk of poetry as a librarian
  • solitary man
  • observations of everyday life (in his poems)
  • written for sally amis 


Born yesterday

  • pun/double meaning
  • literally written the day after she was born
  • also a saying to symbolise naivity - like baby in its childhood innocence

Tightly - folded bud,

I have wished you something 

None of the others would:

Not the usual stuff

About being beautiful,

Or running off a spring

Of innocence and love- 

They will all wish you that,

And should it prove possible,

Well, you're a lucky girl.

  • 'tightly folded bud' - metaphor. flower waiting to bloom which has the potential to grow - just like baby. baby has its whole life ahead of it. 
  • 'wished you something' - direct address to the baby, positive imagry
  • 'not the usual stuff' - stuff is quite dismissive of conventional speeches or wishes. this helps to foreground the poet's opinion whilst also being emotive. rejection. very un-poetic, common phrase used deliberately to contradict the special, unreaslistic hopes people normally have for a child. colloquial language to make it seem normal and strike out against other people's wishes
  • 'being beautiful' - plosive alliteration. creates a sarcastic under tone. highlights view on synical ideas. roll off the tounge to make it sound elegant and attractive.
  • 'or running off a spring of innocence and love' - hyperbolised imagry. this is quite over the top, highlighting the ridiculousness of idealism and ridicualing it. saterising idealistic attitudes. 'spring' - a


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