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Toads Revisited

Philip Larkin

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Added by: anonymous
‘Toad’ is Larkin’s pet word for ‘work’. This poem is a sequel to ‘Toads’ in his earlier collection, The Less Deceived. Larkin describes taking a daytime walk in the park during the week. He meets those who do not have jobs: frail old men (‘palsied old step-takers’), hospital outpatients, and vagrants ‘deep in the litter baskets’. He concludes that the routine of work actually feels better than belonging to this social group who have ‘nowhere to go but indoors’. In an ironical parting couplet, Larkin personifies work as an ‘old toad’ which will take his arm, making life’s journey toward death (‘Cemetery Road’) easier.

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