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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.
>