monday verse: an arundel tomb

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Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd—
The little dogs under their feet.

from An Arundel Tomb by Philip Larkin

The heatwave that we’ve been enduring the past few weeks has had me craving the cool, dark interiors of churches and abbeys, which in turn put me in mind of  this poem by Philip Larkin. It’s one of my favourites, and if you’re not familiar with it, I urge you to follow the link and read the whole thing.

The photo is a bit of a cheat, as it was actually taken in the small church on the Harewood estate in Yorkshire, and the figures are not holding hands as the couple in the poem are. The other details are all there though, from the blurred faces to the little dogs under their feet.

The church at Harewood contains several beautifully carved family tombs, as well as sitting within a lovely shady graveyard.


There, I’m feeling cooler already.


One thought on “monday verse: an arundel tomb

  1. What stunning tomb carvings – of course I adore the little dogs resting patiently in their mistresses skirts for eternity. Shamefully, I don’t really know Yorkshire at all – a little .. I have a friend who is a housemaster at Ampleforth but you encourage me to explore much deeper when you write of the place. And I love Larkin. And I do know the poem but it’s good to be reminded 🙂

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