A reading of a short Larkin poem
‘Take One Home for the Kiddies’ first appeared in Larkin’s third poetry collection, The Whitsun Weddings, in 1964. Like a number of Larkin’s poems – see ‘First Sight’, ‘The Mower’, and ‘Myxomatosis’ for three other notable examples – the poem is about animals, and specifically about the callousness with which humans sometimes act towards pets. You can read ‘Take One Home for the Kiddies’ here, before proceeding to our analysis below.
Start with the title, as so often in poetry (especially Larkin’s poetry, with their carefully chosen titles). ‘Take One Home for the Kiddies’ sounds like a slogan or tagline adorning a poster or other advertisement outside a pet shop: the advert addresses itself to the parents (with the cutesy and playful ‘kiddies’ carrying a twang of American commercialism, ‘kids’ having originated in the US as a slang term for children), but the poem itself introduces the children’s voices as they, in turn, address their parents. Read the rest of this entry