Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday Poem: "How to get on in Society" by John Betjeman

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.

Are the requisites all in the toilet?
The frills round the cutlets can wait
Till the girl has replenished the cruets
And switched on the logs in the grate.

It's ever so close in the lounge dear,
But the vestibule's comfy for tea
And Howard is riding on horseback
So do come and take some with me

Now here is a fork for your pastries
And do use the couch for your feet;
I know that I wanted to ask you-
Is trifle sufficient for sweet?

Milk and then just as it comes dear?
I'm afraid the preserve's full of stones;
Beg pardon, I'm soiling the doileys
With afternoon tea-cakes and scones.

by John Betjeman

This poem was written and published in 1958 and next Tuesday I will post an updated version of this poem written by Martin Parker in 2011.  

For more about the poet, John Betjeman, see:


  1. Fun, yes and what a fascinating biography he has! Sometimes when a name is famous one tends to think one knows a lot about the person...I just discovered I didn't. Well worth a read.