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Lost quotations

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Larkin Christmas poem about a Christmas tree | 28-Jan-11

Enquirer is looking for a Christmas poem Philip Larkin wrote in a Christmas card to Monica Jones.

She may have heard it read on David Walliams' programme about Philip Larkin on Radio 4.

It was a short, funny poem and described a Christmas tree hung with baubles, describing them as looking possibly like apples or tomatoes.

We have looked for the poem in Larkin's "Letters to Monica" but can't seem to find it.

3 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


Comments:

This poem was read in the recent Larkin Documentary on BBC3 (i think) it was aired around September/October and was called something along the lines of "The Third Woman". Sadly I can not remember what it was called, its a great and humorous poem. Hope someone can find it.
Joshua Jenkin

I published the poem in About Larkin 20 (see wwwphiliplarkin.com). It was in an undated Christmas card sent to Betty Mackereth in the late 70s or early 80s.

Apples on a Christmas Tree!
Or are they tomatoes?
Such teasing ambiguity
No sensible art owes.
We sing the annual mystery
In churches and chapels
-- But tomatoes on a Christmas tree!
Or are they apples?

It is in Burnett's Larkin Complete Poems, p. 321.
James Booth


Apples on a Christmas tree!
Or are they tomatoes?
Such teasing ambiguity
No sensible art owes
We sing the annual mystery
In churches and chapels
– But tomatoes on a Christmas tree!
Or are they apples?
Heather Bates


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