An additional verse for Ms. Rich Harris

From “The Nurture Assumption,” Judith Rich Harris (1998)

(working off of “This Be The Verse,” Philip Larkin, High Windows (1974) )


“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth

To hear your child make such a fuss.

It isn’t fair—it’s not the truth—

He’s fucked up, yes, but not by us.”


I have an additional verse for Ms. Rich Harris:


Unless, of course, no-one else will,

The masters or the kids at school,

When no-one else will fuck them up,

For that, the parents have the tool




Jan. 29th., 2019


“This Be The Verse,” High Windows (1974) [April ? 1971]


They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn

By fools in old-style hats and coats,

Who half the time were soppy-stern

And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

And don’t have any kids yourself.