Was Larkin frightened of death? He certainly wrote about it a great deal, and it is tempting to see his poems as, to use some of his own words from one of those pieces, "Weak Propitiatory Flowers". But the final impression that remains is not so much a fear of extinction, but a sense that he was intimidated by impending pointlessness. And this is entirely self-inflicted, since everywhere in his writings we find the suspiciously aggressive rejection of the uneducated but entirely correct belief that children – Dockery's dilution – are the only guard against inconsequentiality, though a hazardous one.