Continuing the theme...
(Poem #1522) Slough
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 for 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 desk of polished oak And smash his hands so used to stroke And stop his boring dirty joke And make him yell. But spare the bald young clerks who add The profits of the stinking cad; It's not their fault that they are mad, They've tasted Hell. It's not their fault they do not know The birdsong from the radio, It's not their fault they often go To Maidenhead And talk of sports and makes of cars In various bogus Tudor bars And daren't look up and see the stars But belch instead. In labour-saving homes, with care Their wives frizz out peroxide hair And dry it in synthetic air And paint their nails. Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough To get it ready for the plough. The cabbages are coming now; The earth exhales.
My thanks to Frank O'Shea (the instigator of our current theme -- "The Poet Cranky") for re-introducing this poem to me. (I'd read it in the past, but for some reason it failed to stick in my mind). Betjeman has been described as the poet of nostalgia, but what I like about today's poem is not so much the fond remembrance of things past which runs like an undercurrent through almost all his work, as it is the unabashed loathing with which the poet describes the industrial wasteland that Slough has become. I do enjoy an old-fashioned, no-holds-barred rant... thomas. [Links] Here's some more about Slough: [broken link] http://www.fact-index.com/s/sl/slough.html Here's a biography of John Betjeman: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/brookej/btjmn/index.htm