Heads in the Women’s Ward
On pillow after pillow lies
The wild white hair and staring eyes;
Jaws stand open; necks are stretched
With every tendon sharply sketched;
A bearded mouth talks silently
To someone no one else can see.
Sixty years ago they smiled
At lover, husband, first-born child.
Smiles are for youth. For old age come
Death’s terror and delirium.
Philip Larkin - pictured with Richard Murphy, Douglas Dunn and Ted Hughes