Friday, October 3, 2008

Executive, a poem by John Betjeman.

It's Friday - poetry day again. One of my favorite English poets, Sir John Betjeman, CBE, was a poet, writer and broadcaster who was born in London in 1906. Although he failed his degree at Oxford University, his early ability in writing poetry and his interest in architecture supported him throughout his life. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as British Poet Laureate and a much-loved figure on British television. Betjeman's poetry appealed to a very wide public. He managed to express the thoughts and aspirations of ordinary people while retaining the respect of many of his fellow poets, partly because of the apparently simple traditional forms and rhymes he used (which aren't quite as simple as they seem). He died at his home in Cornwall in 1984. He once said, “I don't think I'm any good. If I thought I was any good, I wouldn't be.”

Executive, by John Betjeman.

I am a young executive. No cuffs than mine are cleaner;
I have a Slimline briefcase and I use the firm's Cortina.
In every roadside hostelry from here to Burgess Hill
The maitres d'hotel all know me well and let me sign the bill.

You ask me what it is I do? Well actually, you know,
I'm partly a liason man and partly P.R.O.
Essentially I integrate the current export drive
And basically I'm viable from ten o'clock till five.

For vital off-the-record work - that's talking transport-wise -
I've a scarlet Aston-Martin - and does she go? She flies!
Pedestrian and dogs and cats - we mark them down for slaughter.
I also own a speed-boat which has never touched the water.

She's built of fibre-glass of course - I call her 'Mandy Jane'
After a bird I used to know - No soda please, just plain -
And how did I acquire her? Well to tell you about that
And to put you in the picture I must wear my other hat.

I do some mild developing. The sort of place I need
Is a quiet country market town that's rather run to seed.
A luncheon and a drink or two, a little savoir faire -
I fix the Planning Officer, the Town Clerk and the Mayor.

And if some preservationist attempts to interfere
A 'dangerous structure' notice from the Borough Engineer
Will settle any buildings that are standing in our way -
The modern style, sir, with respect, has really come to stay.

1 comment:

cukie6 said...

I don't know where you find such great poems but this one is wonderful!