Ambulances

Ambulances
Lights. Sirens. Action.
As quick as a heartbeat, we race to the van, hearts rushing, always not knowing what to expect, never fully prepared for death. Speeding through traffic, seeing familiar streets where we have saved lives before. My heart is pumping hot blood through my veins. I can feel it pulsing in my neck and in my ears. I?m sweating as my mind tries to prepare for the possible death creeping closer and closer by the second. We turn corners at break neck speed our sirens screaming out to the world.I look out of the windscreen and see children strewn on steps and playing on the roads. Mothers coming out of shops. I smell fish and chips and roasting meats as we rush past the market.

Closer.

Closer.

Death is just around the corner. We come screeching to a halt. Before the vehicle stops my door is open and I am running towards the back doors. A woman sobs hysterically and comes rushing over. Panic. Panic. ?Help him? she screams. We ignore her as my partner and I grab our medical kits, a defribulator and the stretcher. The woman still sobbing ushers us inside. I can feel death its cold hands reaching out to me. Screaming in my head. Laughing at me. I shiver.

We race into the living room. A man lies half dead on the floor, his body in meltdown. His fingers and toes curled, his eyes loll back in his head. Quick shivers run over his body. ?Help him? the woman cries again.
?How long has he been having this seizure?? my partner asks the woman. I notice a mug shattered on the floor. Death is close. ?I don?t know, I was cooking in the kitchen and I heard the mug smash so I came in?and?and?he was like this, Please help him!? She wails on and on, we ignore her and roll the man onto the stretcher.

Death is coming. I can almost see him now. Standing by the mug, a cruel smile plays on his lips and a soft chuckle escapes. I want to scream.
?LET?S GO? my partner screams. We run. The stretcher bouncing up and down with our movement. Death pounces after us. We bolt out through the corridor, through the wide open door. Death breathes down my neck, I shudder.

We approach the van. I hear a woman mutter ?Poor soul.? I see a woman shielding her child from this nightmare. Death chasing us. We are all scared. Into the ambulance we place the man. My partner and the woman climb in the back. I shut the doors and run to the front. I floor it. I can see death in my mirror, running, smiling. I keep my eyes on the road. I?m sweating. I?m driving like a mad man, running red lights, weaving through traffic. I can feel death. Its like a chill down to the marrow in my bones. I hear him cackle a crisp, joyous sound. It scares me. In my head I can see his long fingers grip the throat of the man in the back. I yell out ?What?s Happening?!?
?Its not good, Hurry? she replies. I can hear her doing cpr. The soft banging of her hands on his chest. The whir of the oxygen machine. Death is smirking at me.

He is coming and he isn?t going to stop this time.

It must be said that ?Ambulances? is one of Philip Larkin?s successes. He has described our own venerability and lack of knowledge. He rightly demonstrates our fear of the unknown, fear of death and highlights further the loneliness suffered when it does occur ?unreachable inside a room? It takes an everyday occurrence and explores what it really means on a subconscious level. It is almost completely to do with our lack of comprehension about our own mortality, a truth only brought to our attention by a life or death event such as watching an ambulance.

Ambulances is about how we are all bound by one eventuality: Death. I particularly like his description of death in an ambulance, shut off from the real world. As in many of his poems, Larkin explores the real meaning behind everyday occurrences.
The ambulance may represent death. The line ?all streets in time are visited" represents this. As if to say, one day an ambulance will come to take you away, dead or dying.
The poem itself is a reflection about death its inevitability, its loneliness, themes which occur regularly in Larkin?s work You could argue about ?Ambulances? for forever and never come up with one single meaning that everyone thinks is right. There is no right or wrong answer, it?s all about perspective. That is what makes Larkin?s poetry so interesting.

Larkin uses a lot of imagery to convey his ideas. For example; the imagery of colour. The red/white of the blankets shows stark contrast. These colours may represent blood and the sterility of the ambulance. The imagery of children ?strewn? may indicate the randomness of death .

In my story I was trying to show a fear of death. A man has a seizure and the paramedics go to save him. They are scared of death. Perhaps this is why they are paramedics? To cheat death? Save lives? I always imagine death as a black figure, male and always cool, calm and collected. This instils even more fear into the paramedics.
Death can be anywhere. We can be expecting it or it can catch us unawares but we all share one thing in common. Death.
?Ambulances? is simply another means through which Larkin can muse on one of his favourite subjects ? death; and as usual, he does so with stunning brilliance and mystery.

Ambulances 7.6 of 10 on the basis of 2650 Review.