The three poems I have chosen to analyse here represent three gigantic steps in Philip Larkin’s writing life, as there is a great distance in years separating them:
“Church Going” is from 1954 and was published in The Less Deceived, 1955.
“Sad Steps” is from 1968 and belongs to High Windows, 1974.
“Aubade” is from 1877 and was printed separately in Larkin’s lifetime, though published posthumously as part of Anthony Thwaite’s edition Collected Poems, 1988.
However, Larkin’s most characteristic theme, death, is present in all of them.