Why should I let the toad work Squat on my life? Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork And drive the brute off? Six days of the week it soils With its sickening poison - Just for paying a few bills! That's out of proportion. Lots of folk live on their wits: Lecturers, lispers, Losels, loblolly-men, louts- They don't end as paupers; Lots of folk live up lanes With fires in a bucket, Eat windfalls and tinned sardines- they seem to like it. Their nippers have got bare feet, Their unspeakable wives Are skinny as whippets - and yet No one actually starves. Ah, were I courageous enough To shout Stuff your pension! But I know, all too well, that's the stuff That dreams are made on: For something sufficiently toad-like Squats in me, too; Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck, And cold as snow, And will never allow me to blarney My way of getting The fame and the girl and the money All at one sitting. I don't say, one bodies the other One's spiritual truth; But I do say it's hard to lose either, When you have both.
by philip larkin