Sir John Betjeman, CBE was an English poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a "poet and hack".
He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate to date and a much-loved figure on British television.
Early Life and Education
Betjeman was born "John Betjemann"; this was changed to the less German "Betjeman" during the First World War. He grew up at Parliament Hill Mansions in the Lissenden Gardens private estate in Highgate in North ... more »
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John Betjeman Poems
Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn't fit for humans now, There isn't grass to graze a cow. Swarm over, Death!
I remember the dread with which I at a quarter past four Let go with a bang behind me our house front door And, clutching a present for my dear little hostess tight, Sailed out for the children's party into the night
Dilton Marsh Halt
Was it worth keeping the Halt open, We thought as we looked at the sky Red through the spread of the cedar-tree, With the evening train gone by?
Diary Of A Church Mouse
Here among long-discarded cassocks, Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks, Here where the vicar never looks I nibble through old service books.
A Subaltern's Love Song
Miss J.Hunter Dunn, Miss J.Hunter Dunn, Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun, What strenuous singles we played after tea, We in the tournament - you against me!
East Anglian Bathe
Oh when the early morning at the seaside Took us with hurrying steps from Horsey Mere To see the whistling bent-grass on the leeside And then the tumbled breaker-line appear,
Five O'Clock Shadow
This is the time of day when we in the Men's ward Think 'one more surge of the pain and I give up the fight.' When he who struggles for breath can struggle less strongly: This is the time of day which is worse than night.
Bird-watching colonels on the old sea wall, Down here at Dawlish where the slow trains crawl: Low tide lifting, on a shingle shore, Long-sunk islands from the sea once more:
Back From Australia
Cocooned in Time, at this inhuman height, The packaged food tastes neutrally of clay, We never seem to catch the running day But travel on in everlasting night
Meditation On The A30
A man on his own in a car Is revenging himself on his wife; He open the throttle and bubbles with dottle and puffs at his pitiful life
A Mind's Journey to Diss
Dear Mary, Yes, it will be bliss To go with you by train to Diss, Your walking shoes upon your feet;
The clock is frozen in the tower, The thickening fog with sooty smell Has blanketed the motor power Which turns the London streets to hell;
How To Get On In Society
Phone for the fish knives, Norman As cook is a little unnerved; You kiddies have crumpled the serviettes And I must have things daintily served.
In A Bath Teashop
'Let us not speak, for the love we bear one another— Let us hold hands and look.' She such a very ordinary little woman; He such a thumping crook;
Comments about John Betjeman
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.
Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.
And get that man with double chin
Who'll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women's tears:
And smash his ...