Yes, sex began in 63
for Philip Larkin and for me.
Before that so-auspicious year
hand-holding was the most boys got:
the rules for love were strict and clear,
what might be done and what might not.
In cinema back-rows we’d miss
the hero’s comeback from the brink
for little more than a chaste kiss
while spilling our Kiora drink;
then, unconvincingly, we’d brag,
to other spotty celibates
about our prowess, scrounge a fag,
become a hero to our mates.
In hormone-bedrooms, going blind,
we’d fantasise on girls who would,
because there surely were that kind
of girl, or so we understood.
At seventeen, those hormones howled:
it was a bitch to be a male.
Though we dashed out, all downy-jowled,
each night, undoubtedly, we’d fail.
We’d traipse home late, repressed, depressed
because some girl had no-ed not yes-ed.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Richard
Fleming would be pleased to hear them.