How did I miss you all this time? You had been there always
And I too short to see you on the shelf, to see the glittering star
I, immured in my world of thirty-minute musings instead of searching
For the light of the gold, too lazy to see past me, too lazy to see too far.
How did I not hear you? Your songs, so strong, the sound so long
With a Nation’s pride and a Queen’s command and all
Who knew revelled in the work and symbols of
The England you dressed as a treasure. Winter, spring, fall.
But mostly Summer. Mostly I hear the summer calling.
The ordinary lives, the recognisable WE, the well-turned pages,
The Death in Leamington, the sound of your Britain
Of softness of Maggie Smith and Kenneth William’s wages
You lift us over rolling hills and through the run-down village
Toward the low cut grass toward the embracing sea
Thank God for you John Betjeman. Thank God for you John Betjeman
Thank God for you and thank God for restless me.