It can also be seen that Larkin presents nature as anorganism through his resistance to place human opinions and value onto it. Larkinwas part of ‘The Movement’, a term coined by J.
D. Scott, literary editor of The Spectator, for a group of poets whichactively sought to dismantle the esoteric writing of the Modernists and speakmore plainly in an anti-Romantic voice. These ideas can be seen very clearly in”Sad Steps”, in which Larkin mocks age-old poets in their views ofthe moon, instead, producing a much more realistic and un-embellished portrayalwhich affords nature value in its own right. The title of the poem itself evenfalls in line with this view through its allusion to Sir Philip Sidney’s’Sonnet 31′ from his 16th century sonnet sequence, Astrophil and Stella. The”sad steps” that Sidney wrote about referred to the moon’s walkacross the sky. Larkin’s “sad steps” however, are the altogether moreunremarkable steps he takes back to bed “after a piss”.
The crude, bodilynature of the word “piss”, given emphasis through its positioning at the end ofthe line, disabuses the reader of any Romantic sentiment, therefore, setting upthe style for the rest of the poem. Moreover, the half rhyme that links theword “piss” to the description of the “moon’s cleanliness” further highlightsto the reader that Larkin is going to offer a much more grounded interpretationof the moon. Larkin shows his aversion to these previous responses to the moonthrough describing them in exaggerated language, “Lozenge of love! Medallion ofart!”. The repetition of exclamation marks reflects Larkin’s view that thedescriptions have lost any sincerity, portraying an excessively romantic andarchaic view of the moon. Furthermore, the characteristically Larkinesque “No”that is emphatically placed at the end of these descriptions signifies Larkin’sdisapproval. Instead of linking the moon to physical objects such as medallionsand lozenges, Larkin bases the value of the moon in its’ simplicity. The polysyndeticlist that describes “The hardness and the brightness and the plain Far reachingsingleness” shows how Larkin’s appreciation stems from the physical aspects ofthe moon itself, and not from values that humans think it should hold.
The useof the word “plain” at the end of the line emphasises that, in Larkin’s view,the moon does not need to be described in an over the top manner, as itsnatural appearance is enough to make “one (shiver)”.