Sunday 30 September 2018

'The very last of late September...'

As September comes to an end, here's a seasonal poem by John Betjeman. For me, it chimes particularly well with a year in which I've spent far too much time cocooned in aeroplanes at an inhuman height. A beautifully managed Petrarchan sonnet with a perfect turn, I think it's one of Betjeman's best...

Back from Australia

Cocooned in Time, at this inhuman height,
The packaged food tastes neutrally of clay,
We never seem to catch the running day
But travel on in everlasting night
With all the chic accoutrements of flight:
Lotions and essences in neat array
And yet another plastic cup and tray.
"Thank you so much. Oh no, I'm quite all right".

At home in Cornwall hurrying autumn skies
Leave Bray Hill barren, Stepper jutting bare,
And hold the moon above the sea-wet sand.
The very last of late September dies
In frosty silence and the hills declare
How vast the sky is, looked at from the land.

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