Sunday, March 06, 2005

WELL folks - this is a rush job - 460 words in the bag, only another 1340 or so to go! This is my half-hour respite - I can see where I'm going, I just have to get there...

On that note, I've just found something that has totally made my day:

John Betjeman: The Metropolitan Railway

Early Electric! With what radiant hope
Men formed this many-branched electrolier,
Twisted the flex around the iron rope
And let the dazzling vacuum globes hang clear,
And then with hearts the rich contrivance fill'd
Of copper, beaten by the Bromsgrove Guild.

Early Electric! Sit you down and see,
'Mid this fine woodwork and a smell of dinner,
A stained-glass windmill and a pot of tea,
And sepia views of leafy lanes in Pinner,---
Then visualize, far down the shining lines,
Your parents' homestead set in murmuring pines.

Smoothly from Harrow, passing Preston Road,
They saw the last green fields and misty sky,
At Neasden watched a workmen's train unload,
And, with the morning villas sliding by,
They felt so sure on their electric trip
That Youth and Progress were in partnership.

And all that day in murky London Wall
The thought of Ruislip kept him warm inside;
At Farringdon that lunch hour at a stall
He bought a dozen plants of London Pride;

While she, in arc-lit Oxford Street adrift,
Soared through the sales by safe hydraulic lift.

Early Electric! Maybe even here
They met that evening at six-fifteen
Beneath the hearts of this electrolier
And caught the first non-stop to Willesden Green,
Then out and on, through rural Rayner's Lane
To autumn-scented Middlesex again.

Cancer has killed him. Heart is killing her.
The trees are down. An Odeon flashes fire
Where stood their villa by the murmuring fir
When "they would for their children's good conspire."
Of their loves and hopes on hurrying feet
Thou art the worn memorial, Baker Street.

© Copyright John Betjeman 1958, 1962, 1970, 1979

I first came across this poem when watching a documentary about the Underground, and it stuck in my mind ever since...

Hoegaarden reared its head for the first time in a while yesterday. Treat it gently, it's only beer... Thoroughly recommended though when singing the M.G. or E.G. Blues (or some other kind of Blues)...

Some interesting links:

Blues in 'B'


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