Christopher Hitchens, in his last days, had a debate with his friend Ian McEwan about whether Philip Larkin, in his celebrated poem ‘The Whitsun Weddings’, concluded the poem in a ‘horribly dark’ way:

“I set the poem up and read it, and when I reached that celebrated end, “A sense of falling, like an arrow shower/Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain,” Christopher murmured from his bed, “That’s so dark, so horribly dark.” I disagreed, and not out of any wish to lighten his mood. Surely, the train journey comes to an end, the recently married couples are dispatched towards their separate fates. He wouldn’t have it, and a week later, when I was back in London, we were still exchanging emails on the subject. One of his began: “Dearest Ian, Well, indeed – no rain, no gain – but it still depends on how much anthropomorphising Larkin is doing with his unconscious … I’d provisionally surmise that ‘somewhere becoming rain’ is unpromising.”

Most people seem to think Larkin had a distaste for weddings reflected in the piece. Read the poem HERE and an analysis of it HERE. What do you think?

(Read the rest of McEwan’s account of his last visit with Hitchens HERE.)