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