Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Poem: "In Westminster Abbey" by John Betjeman

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 feathers 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.

by John Betjeman

I love this poem. It's very funny and it cuts straight to the heart of the hypocrisy often paraded as devoutness.

For more about the poet, John Betjeman, see:

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