Monday, August 14, 2006


by Sir John Betjeman (1930s ish)

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow
Swarm over Death!

Come, bombs, and blow to smithereens
Those air conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town -
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half-a-crown
For twenty years,

And get that man with double chin
Who'll always cheat and always win,
Who washed his repulsive skin
In women's tears,

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad,
They've tasted Hell.

It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It's not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead

And talk of sports and makes of cars
In various bogus Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives fizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails

Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales

Now this Is quite an old poem and so some of the words may not be known to all readers
Cad is an impolite word for someone who chases women (I did not know this one)
I do not think there are any other particulary dificult ones and if you don't understand them read more old stuff some old words really are quite good.
I hope you enjoyed this poem because I did.
An aristocratic home grown terrorist? No I think I agree.


Anonymous said...

I didn't understand this one (I'm not fluent in English):

Mess up the mess they call a town --
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week for half-a-crown
For twenty years.

What does it mean, "A house for ninety-seven down"? And what do they do once a week?

Max Randor said...

It means a house for 97 crowns or less(though it could be a multiple of this such as 970 but you get the idea) and once a week they have to pay the mortgage.
incedentaly mortgage comes from the latin mort which means death so a mortgage is a death sentance :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, now I understand :)