Philip Larkin – This Be The Verse

They f*ck 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 f*cked 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.

(Written on 1 Feb 2011)

Tracy had written:

In a local newspaper there was an article making the point that you spend nearly one third of your life as a child so this time should be happy.  It went on to say that ‘A’ students become academics whilst ‘C’ students go on to be billionaires – probably referring to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, neither of whom finished a degree.  Also mentioned in the paper was this poem (above)… not sure if I agree with the end, but there is no gainsaying the beginning.

Dear Tracy,

I think the writer is quite right about parents having a tendency to screw up. But, like you, I don’t think it is a good enough reason not to be a parent. In fact, it has occurred to me once or twice in recent years that I may have reached a point in life where I think I might even know a thing or two about this parenting business, but then I can’t be sure!
What I do know is that it is never too late to have a happy childhood, so why stop at the first third?
Thanks for the poem,