Friday, 22 May 2009

Sonnet to Sir John Betjeman

There has been some demand for Poet-in-Residence the anti-Laureate to poetise on the latest appointment of Ms Duffy to the noble rank of Queen's Canary. But, to be fair, this would not be very fair for the royal and gilded bird has not yet begun to sing. Instead here's a sonnet of sorts to that stalwart Betjeman, the poet laureate buried in St. Enodoc's pocket handkerchief graveyard in the middle of a golf links.
A lovely story goes that one Sunday morning after gale force winds the priest and congregation arrived at the church on the sand dunes to find the building buried in sand and were forced to enter through a hole in the roof.

Across from Padstow - Beware of Flying Golfballs
in memory of Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984)

Gently we laid him down
at last in the sands of time
the laureate 'neath the scribbled name
scrolled on the simple stone unrhymed

where sloughy seagulls
squall and squawk
on the rain-lashed gale-blasted
church yard patch

and wild flapped golfers somehow tee off
to bomb us all with unworthy attempts

which curl in and over and wildly astray
- loose formations of pimply balls
driven through and on the Atlantic gales
to fall on poet, church and sand ...

gw 2009


  1. I love "loose formations of pimply balls" - you miss blogging for three weeks ( I have missed you ) and then you bounce back with this corker! Love it.
    How are the poems you have been commissioned to write going? I preseumed you were not blogging because you needed to focus all your creative skills on that.

  2. Wonderful, the "loose formations of pimply balls
    driven through and on the Atlantic's gales".

    The lines reminded me for some reason of my recent visit to Antony Gormley's Another Place on Crosby beach.

    I was also reminded of how some of these iron men are now up to their knees in sand even though their feet were originally set level with it. The sand seems to change a lot even on a seemingly "flat" beach.

  3. Thanks for the comments. The word 'commissioned' was in '-' ! Poetic wostsit. I may not have time to do it. It was more a request to contribute. Nice to get it nevertheless.
    Things are much quieter on the blog when the mountain running and gardening season gets into full it's doing now. Poetry is my main winter 'sport'!


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