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TSE  October 2013

TSE October 2013

Subject:

Re: Humo(u)r as poetry

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Tue, 8 Oct 2013 21:57:09 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (123 lines)

I think most comes across pretty clearly. I first read the poem 65 years ago
in an Oscar Williams anthology of modern poetry, which had a light verse
section in the back. One does not need specific information about Cadogan
Square to catch the import.

You might look up a book published in England in the 1950s entitled The
Common Muse.

Carrol

-----Original Message-----
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of David Boyd
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 5:41 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Humo(u)r as poetry

Betjeman was indeed an ace at light verse, although some of the allusions
therein may not travel too well overseas from England.


On 8 October 2013 21:38, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Actually, there isn't all that much really good light verse around,
and what
there is deserves to be treasured.

Carrol



-----Original Message-----
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf
Of David Boyd
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 1:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Humo(u)r as poetry

I was just re- reading this John Betjeman poem, and it revived my
astonishment that I revere both Eliot and Betjeman, so very
different as
they are.

I have a feeling that TS Eliot's philosophy would have been
dismissed by
'drone' Betjeman as 'boring.....boring' but that Eliot may have held
a place
in his heart for Betjeman even though John Murray and not Faber were
JB's
traditional publishers. In one perspective, this is 'mere' 'light
verse' but
something eclipses and transcends and renders patronising that
remark:-



Let me take this other glove off
As the vox humana swells,
And the beauteous fields of Eden
Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
Here, where England's statesmen lie,
Listen to a lady's cry.

Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans.
Spare their women for Thy Sake,
And if that is not too easy
We will pardon Thy Mistake.
But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be,
Don't let anyone bomb me.

Keep our Empire undismembered
Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
Honduras and Togoland;
Protect them Lord in all their fights,
And, even more, protect the whites.

Think of what our Nation stands for,
Books from Boots and country lanes,
Free speech, free passes, class distinction, Democracy and proper
drains.
Lord, put beneath Thy special care
One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.

Although dear Lord I am a sinner,
I have done no major crime;
Now I'll come to Evening Service
Whensoever I have the time.
So, Lord, reserve for me a crown.
And do not let my shares go down.

I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
Help our lads to win the war,
Send white flowers to the cowards
Join the Women's Army Corps,
Then wash the Steps around Thy Throne
In the Eternal Safety Zone.

Now I feel a little better,
What a treat to hear Thy word,
Where the bones of leading statesmen,
Have so often been interr'd.
And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
Because I have a luncheon date.




ps




Poem titled 'In Westminster Abbey: it is dear to me, too. because as
a
pimply youth, I was once a resident of 82 Cadogan Square (it was a
young
mens hostel then) so I can fully appreciate all the implications of
that ver
exclusive and upmarket address.

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