Guest poem sent in by Steve Forsythe
(Poem #1908) Myfanwy at Oxford
Pink may, double may, dead laburnum Shedding an Anglo-Jackson shade, Shall we ever, my staunch Myfanwy, Bicycle down to North Parade? Kant on the handle-bars, Marx in the saddlebag, Light my touch on your shoulder-blade. Sancta Hilda, Myfanwyatia Evansensis --- I hold your heart, Willowy banks of a willowy Cherwell a Willowy figure with lips apart, Strong and willowy, strong to pillow me, Gold Myfanwy, kisses and art. Tubular bells of tall St. Barnabas, Single clatter above St. Paul, Chasuble, acolyte, incense-offering, Spectacled faces held in thrall. There in the nimbus and Comper tracery Gold Myfanwy blesses us all. Gleam of gas upon Oxford station, Gleam of gas on her straight gold hair, Hair flung back with an ostentation, Waiting alone for a girl friend there. Second in Mods and a Third in Theology Come to breathe again Oxford air. Her Myfanwy as in Cadena days, Her Myfanwy, a schoolgirl voice, Tentative brush of a cheek in a cocoa crush, Coffee and Ulysses, Tennyson, Joyce, Alpha-minded and other dimensional, Freud or Calvary? Take your choice. Her Myfanwy? My Myfanwy. Bicycle bells in a Boar's Hill Pine, Stedman Triple from All Saints' steeple, Tom and his hundred and one at nine, Bells of Butterfield, caught in Keble, Sally and backstroke answer "Mine!"
Here's a poem by Sir John Betjeman that's about both young love and the experience of a middle class Brit in an upper class college environment. Light-years away from my own college experience, but it still paints a vivid picture of that time and place. His "Myfanwy" is Myfanwy Evans, later Piper. Steve [Martin adds] There are very few poets whose individual style shines so clearly through their works as does Betjeman's. Here, after just one line it is nigh unmistakable. (The flip side is that a lot of his poems end up sounding very similar, but that is just a surface thing and doesn't detract from either their merit or their appeal.) martin