The question Larkin asks in the first line of “Days” is so simple, it’s almost silly. ‘What are days for?’ you can almost hear a child asking. The simple answer Larkin doesn’t give us: days, counted off from the first one, make up our life.
Instead, he responds that days are something that engulf us. They are the agent of change. The day is the friend or partner or sibling, that rouses us from our sleep. Days are where we live, and what other choice do we have, he wonders. The magic of this poem is that it might have been Larkin’s existential composition or something written on a napkin at a bar. The English poet wrote this reflection on life in 1953 and three decades later, it can still remind us that it is our days that define us, even though both clergymen and scientists believe it to be something more.
Was “Days” the right Tranquil Tuesday choice? What poem would you have featured? Your thoughts, suggestions and comments are welcome!